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The Relationship Between Sound Levels In the Postanesthesia Care Unit and Use of Analgesics

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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A study investigating whether a relationship exists between sound levels in the postanesthesia care unit PACU and the use of analgesics was conducted. Previous studies indicated sound levels in the PACU exceeded federal recommendations, that more analgesics were used during periods of higher sound, and that many of the sounds in higher levels are often under the control of staff. Four beds in a postanesthesia care unit were monitored for sound levels over seven days. A total of 62 patients, ranging in agefrom 4 to 79 years were admitted to the monitored beds. Sound levels ranged from 43 to 94 dBA, with average daily sound levels ranging from 51-62 dBA, exceeding federal recommendations. Patient charts were reviewed to determine the time of analgesic administration. Printouts from the sound level monitors were reviewed to determine the average sound level at 3 and 10-minute periods prior to analgesic administration. More analgesic doses were given at periods following medium and high sound levels that were given at periods following low sound levels. Ten minutes prior to 79 of the analgesics being administered, sound levels were in the medium or high levels. Three minutes priorto 83.7 of the analgesics being administered sound levels were also at medium or high levels. This research supports findings in previous studies on postoperative pain, sound and noise levels, and the use of analgesics.


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