Research news

Daily quiet time to improve new mothers’ health

Montreal, Jan. 19, 2015 - A quiet time scheduled every afternoon could improve the health of newborns and mothers in maternity wards according to researchers at McGill University.

According to a previous American study, new mothers in maternity wards face around 53 interruptions every 12 hours from people entering the room. This disturbs sleep, interferes with breastfeeding opportunities and causes stress. Effects on health can vary from decreased immune function to stress-related cardio-vascular problems and postpartum mental health disorders, the McGill researchers explain in a commentary published recently in the journal BMC Health Services Research.
They suggest a cheap and low-risk solution: scheduling a daily quiet time. “The afternoon would be a good moment, as the body reaches a natural low,” lead author Safina Adatia explains. Her Master’s thesis will assess the impact of the future implementation of this measure in St. Mary’s Hospital in Montreal.
“This idea is fairly new in maternity wards, but daily quiet times have been implemented and evaluated in other units, such as intensive care units, where they have been effective,” says Dr. Susan Law, a co-author, Associate Professor in Family Medicine at McGill and Vice President of Academic Affairs at St. Mary’s.
The team is monitoring current sources of noise and causes for interruptions, to help decide what has to change in order to offer patients an hour or two to rest in the afternoon. Among the possible measures:  dim the lights, ask nurses and doctors to enter rooms only for urgent care, and not allow visits during that time of day.

Click here to listen to Safina Adatia's interview on Radio Canada International.
Room for improvement: noise on a maternity ward, BMC Health Services Research 2014, Safina Adatia, Susan Law and Jeannie Haggerty.
St. Mary’s Hospital Center (SMHC) is a university affiliated community hospital which serves a multicultural population.  It seeks to provide the highest level of safe patient and family focused care. St. Mary’s is an integral part of the Réseau universitaire intégré de santé (RUIS) McGill.
St. Mary’s Research Centre (SMRC) supports high quality research relevant to the patients and services provided at St Mary’s Hospital and beyond. Principal areas of research include: mental health, primary healthcare and family medicine, bio-medical informatics, clinical research, emergency services, health experiences and patient engagement, and quality improvement. Through continuous knowledge transfer to the community and decision support for leaders, the Centre promotes the conduct and application of excellent science for optimal patient experiences, clinical outcomes, and improved health service delivery.
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