Quality & Patient Safety

Keeping the hospital’s smallest patients safe

Patient Safety Monitor, July 1, 2009

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For babies born prematurely, even the noise generated from a normal conversation can be too loud for proper development. But mothers who give birth to premature babies at The Women’s Hospital in Newburgh, IN, need not worry about the noise level in the hospital’s neonatal ICU (NICU).
The Women’s Hospital installed sound meters and
visual feedback cues to ensure that babies receive the safest possible care.
“We think that the developing brain—especially of the premature baby—is influenced by its environment,” says Kenneth Herrmann, MD, medical director of Newborn Services for the Deaconess-Riley NICU at The Women’s Hospital. “The environment is either promoting healthy development of the brain or it’s not. There is a school of thought that says any noxious stimulus—too bright a light, too loud a sound—is distracting to the task of growing and developing.”

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