Creating a therapeutic environment: a non-randomised controlled trial of a quiet time intervention for patients in acute care

Gardner, Glenn and Collins, Christine and Osborne, Sonya ORCID: and Henderson, Amanda and Eastwood, Misha (2009) Creating a therapeutic environment: a non-randomised controlled trial of a quiet time intervention for patients in acute care. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 46 (6). pp. 778-786. ISSN 0020-7489


Background: Noise is a significant barrier to sleep for acute care hospital patients, and sleep has been shown to be therapeutic for health, healing and recovery. Scheduled quiet time interventions to promote inpatient rest and sleep have been successfully trialled in critical care but not in acute care settings.

Objectives: The study aim was to evaluate a scheduled quiet time intervention in an acute care setting. The study measured the effect of a scheduled quiet time on noise levels, inpatients' rest and sleep behaviour, and wellbeing. The study also examined the impact of the intervention on patients', visitors' and health professionals' satisfaction, and organisational functioning.

Design: The study was a multi-centred non-randomised parallel group trial.

Settings: The research was conducted in the acute orthopaedic wards of two major urban public hospitals in Brisbane, Australia.

Participants: All patients admitted to the two wards in the 5-month period of the study were invited to participate, with a final sample of 299 participants recruited. This sample produced an effect size of 0.89 for all increase in the number of patients asleep during the quiet time.

Methods: Demographic data were collected to enable comparison between groups. Data for noise level, sleep status, sleepiness and wellbeing were collected using previously validated instruments: a Castle Model (c) 824 digital sound level indicator; a three point sleep status scale; the Epworth Sleepiness Scale; and the SF12 V2 questionnaire. The staff, patient and visitor surveys on the experimental ward were adapted from published instruments.

Results: Significant differences were found between the two groups in mean decibel level and numbers of patients awake and asleep. The difference in mean measured noise levels between the two environments corresponded to a 'perceived' difference of 2 to 1. There were significant correlations between average decibel level and number of patients awake and asleep in the experimental group, and between average decibel level and number of patients awake in the control group. Overall, patients, visitors and health professionals were satisfied with the quiet time intervention.

Conclusions: The findings show that a quiet time intervention on an acute care hospital ward can affect noise level and patient sleep/wake patterns during the intervention period. The overall strongly positive response from surveys suggests that scheduled quiet time Would be a positively perceived intervention with therapeutic benefit.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2021 06:36
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2021 06:36
Uncontrolled Keywords: acute care nursing; non-randomised controlled trial; nursing intervention quiet time
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1110 Nursing > 111003 Clinical Nursing: Secondary (Acute Care)
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4205 Nursing > 420501 Acute care
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