Soothing music is to be played in ambulances in Denmark after patients suffering with heart problems complained of stress in transit to hospital.
It is hoped that a few relaxed tunes will make journeys more pleasant for cardio-vascular patients, some of whom face trips of up to 20 minutes to suburban specialist centres. The attempt to mask some of the more traumatic transport noises is currently being undertaken by Aalborg Hospital in north Jutland.
The move comes after an increasing number of patients suffering from cardio-vascular conditions claimed their hearts were not helped by their journey to hospital, with clear links being drawn between transportation and increased stress levels. The hospital has therefore recommended that relaxing music is played in all its emergency vehicles.
Aalborg Hospital’s ICU and anaesthesia department has already undertaken a preliminary study, with Dr Per Thorgaard concluding that noises such as slamming doors, beeping equipment and ambulance sirens were counterproductive to patients’ wellbeing.
“Patients informed us that, in particular, wailing sirens, engine noise, rattling sounds and electronic noises from equipment are the worst ‘stressers’. On the other hand, sounds such as human interaction had the most calming effect,” said Thorgaard in a report by Copenhagen Post.
The Aalborg study was carried out by placing microphones into patients’ ears in order to record what sounds they were subjected to on the journey.
“Many noises in ambulances during transport – especially the sirens – cause maximum stress to cardio-vascular patients. And stress is toxic to these patients, so it’s crucial that we minimise the negative sounds in the ambulances,” said Thorgaard, who anticipates a nationwide rollout of the initiative if feedback is positive.