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Russell Milligan
Saint Joseph Hospital 312-770-2225


Just What the Doctor Ordered! Innovative Hush Curtains Help Reduce Noise, Increase Privacy for Saint Joseph Hospital Patients

First hospital in Chicago to use technology

Chicago, Ill. – March 29, 2012 – Saint Joseph Hospital has taken a giant step toward improving the patient experience through a simple, yet significant change that can be summed up in two words: “Hush Curtains.”

Saint Joseph recently became the first hospital in Chicago to employ this new technology in patient-care areas to help reduce noise, increase patient privacy and improve clarity of communications. In total, the hospital installed 26 sets of hush curtains in ambulatory areas, such as pre-op holding, where patients are prepared for surgery; and step-down recovery, where patients are monitored following surgery.

While Saint Joseph has always taken measures to reduce noise as much as possible in patient-care areas, it was challenging at times. The sounds of technology coupled with surgeons, nurses, residents and others tending to patients in busy surgical areas often increased noise levels. Hospital administrators sought a technical solution.

After doing an Internet search last year, a senior administrative leader discovered this product, where the fabric absorbs sound and reduces noise levels in patient-care areas. An evaluation was done, a proposal submitted and the curtains were approved and ordered.

“We are very excited about this technology and the results,” said Roberta Luskin-Hawk, M.D., executive vice president and CEO, Saint Joseph Hospital. “We were the first hospital in Chicago to install these specialized curtains that offer patients a quieter, more healing environment and enhances communications.”

Now that the curtains have been up for months, has anyone noticed a change in decibel levels?

“It really is making a difference,” said Wendy Willson, MSN, RN, director, surgical services, Saint Joseph Hospital. “When the curtains are pulled for privacy in a room, it is quieter and our staff can hear better with less background noise. The curtains provide another layer that helps absorb sound. Patients need a quiet area to rest before and after surgery – and this helps.”

In addition to reducing noise levels for patients in ambulatory and surgical areas at Saint Joseph, the curtains enhance speech comprehension. That means patients and health care workers are able to communicate more clearly – improving the overall hospital experience for patients, families and staff.

Josephine Gonzales, R.N., pulls the “Hush Curtains” for privacy in the ambulatory pre-op holding area.


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