Thursday, 27 October 2016

The healing power of senses. By Mónica Ferrero

A comfortable and warm environment is essential to assist the patient in his/her recovery. In addition to a careful infrastructure there are elements which can help to create a more friendly environment.

Our senses cause psychological and physiological reactions in our body, which can be very beneficial to promote the healing.


"Color is a perception in the visual organ which contemplates it. And this perception occurs thanks to the light, which is a portion of the wide range of energy that the Sun constantly radiates "

Light and color are a pack: natural light keeps our circadian rhythm and makes possible that we appreciate the colours reflecting. The response of the body and the mind by the color is influenced by the cortical activation, the autonomous nervous system and the hormone activation. Color evokes emotional responses that produce feelings and affect our emotional state.

These are the feelings and emotions that colors cause on us:


Our sense of smell plays an important role in our sense of the environments where we are: vomit, feces, and the smell of an hospital can produce anxiety.

To combat it is essential care for the quality of the air and the ventilation.

We can also use aromatherapy, which uses the properties of the essential oils extracted from aromatic plants, for the benefit of our health.

Using oils, infusions, prepared etc. these scents of nature give us these benefits.

The sense of smell also is related to memory: "Smells and aromas will transport us to past experiences and revive them in detail". These connections between our sense of smell and our memories is what is called " Proust phenomenon".

Could we use the resource of the Proust phenomenon for cause positive memories in the patients and promote their stimulation?. Would it help in the recovery of the unconscious patients feeling the aroma of a loved person or a smell that transmits calm or security?.


While there are sounds that are bothersome to the patient as beeps, slamming doors, etc.. Other sounds produced in us the opposite effect, certain rhythmic patterns have soothing effects.

Music helps the patient to keep the respiratory and metabolic rate, the oxygen consumption, the blood pressure. Music relaxes and helps us to reduce the perception of pain.

Luckily, day by day we are giving more importance to the music in the units, thanks to live concerts, piped music or by devices that families carry to the patients to listen music individual and personalized. One way or another, the important thing is that thanks to this distraction the sensation of pain is reduced.

If we take care of the healing environment of the patient, we can improve their experience in the ICU because in addition to enhance prompt recovery, it will affect possitively to the health team.

Natural light and decoration including color with design integrated into the environment creates a warm and friendly space; feeling calm through pleasant smells of nature or our loved ones and encourage the distraction with music. Raise the hand if you do not have a song that heals you!.

Take care of the senses, also we can care for patients taking care the intangible.


Mónica Ferrero, interior designer in Lab In Action

Friday, 21 October 2016

Optimum soundscapes in hospitals: How do we get the acoustics right?

I spent last night in a nice calm hotel in the capital of Finland, Helsinki. Working in the field of acoustics I always bring a tool to measure simple indoor climate parameters: light, humidity, temperature and of course sound pressure levels. In my room last night I measured 34 dB. I’ll get back to that...

In Dec. 2005, the
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America published a study by Busch-Vishniac et al. called "Noise Levels in John Hopkins Hospital”, and the study analyzed data from research in hospitals across the world between 1960 and 2005. Not one hospital complied with WHO guidelines (WHO recommends 30 dB to secure a good night’s sleep) and the sound levels have increased on average 15 dB during the day and 18 dB during the night during the years! Looking at the study it also showed that sound levels over 70 dB during day and 60 dB during the night are not unusual.

So – WHY does WHO set demands that are impossible (?) to reach. WHY should we bother? Being deprived the possibility to sleep is being deprived the possibility to heal! When we are sick we need to recover and rest more than anything else.

When we work with soundscapes in hospitals we therefor find it necessary to evaluate NOT only the sound pressure levels but more HOW the sound behaves and because of what: Will we have reflecting surfaces that built up the sound and cause long reverberation time? Is the speech clarity so bad that the staff has to raise their voices? Will the sound propagate because of hard walls, ceilings and flooring – and disturb everyone in the ward? To control the sound pressure levels – and to reach WHO recommendations we have to evaluate WHAT leads to a certain sound pressure level. If we want low levels in hospitals – we need to look at activity based design consisting of information about:

- People: Who are the people – what are their needs and behavior?

- Activity: What is the action? What happens? (Will several people talk at the same time? Will there be a lot of traffic? Is it a room with only one person?)

- Room: What does the room look like? (Dimensions, size, shape, furniture, material, surfaces).

Picture from a Hospital in Finland where they used class A acoustic absorbers (ceiling + walls). 
The big ‘pictures’ are sound absorbing wall panels (Ecophon Akusto Wallpanel).

When we have analyzed that we more or less can predict the sound scape. If we have a room that is a multi-talking environment – with a lot of equipment – we need to take care of good speech intelligibility and auditory strength. That is the only way to keep the sound levels down! And how do we do that? Today we can combine good acoustic products with both high cleanability and design – AND setting high demands on the acoustic descriptors (speech clarity, auditory strength, sound propagation, reverberation time) will control the sound pressure levels! It’s NOT rocket science: If we have hard surfaces (glass, metal, hard gypsum) the sound will build up but when we use acoustic material in the ceiling and on the walls the sound energy will be absorbed. THEN the sound pressure levels will go down.

In my hotel room last night – where there was no acoustic treatment – despite that I measured 34 dB. I was the only person in the room – and I don’t talk to myself (a lot). ONLY because of that (and the fact that there was not a single guest moving in the corridor) the sound pressure level was low. How many times to you have that condition in a hospital? Never! 

Mai-Britt Beldam
Central Concept Developer – Healthcare
Market Department - Market Development Team
Ecophon Group

Thursday, 20 October 2016

From Móstoles to Porto, com-passion

Hola a tod@s, my dear friends.

Crazy and amazing week, for sure.

After the exciting and intense day in the Course of Bioethics of Palencia, yesterday morning I did a rest to continue forward. In the afternoon, we started the course Compassion Cultivation Training. Every Wednesday for two months, Marisol Martínez and me are stopping and focusing on this Human tool. We will keep you informed, but the first class was simply wonderful.

And tomorrow, we will begin the day with the IX National Nursing Conference in the Hospital Universitario of Móstoles. This year, the title is "Humanizing the process of care", and we participate together with José Sesmero in the first table "Humanization: integral vision". In the event, great friends related with humanization will participate, as José Carlos Bermejo and Cristina Muñoz (Center of Humanization of Health), Luis Pradillos (PayasoSalud), Raquel Franco (Facilitación Sanitaria) and Cristina González del Yerro, of the General Subdirection of Humanization of Health of the Goverment of Madrid.

In the afternoon, we will participate together with José Manuel Velasco and by second consecutive year in the Jornadas de Medicina Intensiva do Porto and that are the event of the year for the ICU in Portugal.

This is the full program, again with a very provocative title. This time I will moderate the table of "Transversals skills in the critically ill patient" with Irene Aragao and after that, we will discuss about the humanization of the ICU asking "What do we do in our ICU?", talking about the project and visitation policies. We will close the day with the reading of the Declaration of Torrejón.

As you can see, this does not stop. And there is much to do.

We will follow!

Happy Thursday


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Humanization, Science and Technology

Hola a tod@s, my dear friends.

"Humanization, Science and Technology" is the title of the 
XLIII Annual Conference of the Mexican College of Intensive Care Medicine (COMMEC) which is taking place from October 16th until next Saturday in the beautiful city of Veracruz.

Dra. Mari Cruz Martín, current Vicepresident of the Spanish Society of Intensive care Medicine, Critical and Coronary Units (SEMICYUC) and member of the international research project for the humanization of the Intensive Care has traveled to Mexico.

Mari Cruz has had the honor of talking in the opening ceremony with the talk "Humanization in the Intensive care Unit" in the Act of inauguration held on Monday 17th.

She is also participating in multiple sessions during the Congress, discussing management during the final stage, standards and indicators of quality and leadership in ICU.

On Friday 21st is going to be held the workshop "Technology and humanized medicine" with the doctors Jordi Mancebo, Dulce María D´ector and Alfredo Felipe.

You can consult the whole program here (only available in Spanish) and follow the hashtag #COMMEC16.

The truth, there cannot be more happy. Something is changing in ICU around the world when the H of #humaniza H is becoming increasingly more present.

Happy Congress to our Mexican friends!

Happy Tuesday,