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C.A.R.E. Channel and Silencing Tools Help to Create Healing Environment for Sarasota Memorial Hospital

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SARASOTA (Apr. 6, 2010) – A busy hospital and healing environment don’t often go hand in hand. But it’s a challenge that Sarasota Memorial has made a priority as it moves forward with the largest construction project on its main campus in half a century.

New construction will follow the same path Sarasota Memorial took when expanding the Emergency Care Center recently. The health system took the opportunity to “de-institutionalize” its facility, replacing sterile white walls with natural light, pleasant views and therapeutic colors and sounds. With bubble fountains built into the walls and soothing music piped into the waiting areas, the ER has a softer look, sound and feel.

This month, Sarasota Memorial launched The C.A.R.E. Channel. The inpatient television series combines beautiful nature images and soothing instrumental music for patients. It offers respite from commercial television, noise and other distractions. “It can be extremely soothing for patients, especially those who are confused, agitated or on high levels of medications,” says Sue Shkrab, RN, director of patient services.

“We are committed to creating a healing atmosphere for patients, families and staff. The environment of care remains a powerful and effective tool in both tending to the patient and supporting treatment protocols, says Shkrab.”

In recent surveys of patients and staff, Sarasota Memorial identified a number of immediate changes it could make to enhance the hospital experience, such as eliminating squeaky wheels on linen carts, lowering ring volumes on phones at the nurses’ stations and dimming lights at night.

Nurses also began offering patients items from a comfort kit to help them relax and focus on their recovery. The kit includes everything from soft eye masks and ear plugs to help them sleep easier, to headphones, chamomile tea and privacy signs posted on their door to limit noise and activity in or near their rooms.

Noise reduction strategies will continue to be a strong focus in the coming months as the hospital begins construction on its new nine-floor courtyard tower. Despite some “growing pains,” patients continue to rate the hospital highly in patient satisfaction surveys. On the latest national patient experience survey, HCAHPS, Sarasota Memorial patients’ willingness to recommend the hospital to others ranked it among the top 20 percent of hospitals nationwide – and made it the highest ranked hospital in the surrounding four-county region – Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto.

Date Published: April 8, 2010

Media Contact: Kim Savage
Phone: (941) 917-6271

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