Who among us has not experienced an overnight stay at the hospital-either for ourselves or for family/friends?  Being woken up multiple times for vital signs, blood draws, and by the patient in the next bed snoring so loudly your bed shakes are not pleasant experiences. Lack of sleep makes recovery even more difficult.

Do all hospitalized patients really need those 4 am vital signs?  Must blood be drawn at 6 am for daily labs? Does every patient need to be tethered to that iv, making the trek to the bathroom more complicated than solving a Rubrik puzzle? Does the door need to be left wide open so that each and every movement in the hall echoes within the patient’s room and the lights are brighter than the midday sun?  What about the seemingly endless overhead pages, which guarantees that restful sleep is just a dream?

Certainly, for some critically ill patients intensive monitoring and treatment are required.  Even so, efforts can be made to coordinate treatments and avoid overlaps so that rest periods are provided.

For many patients nighttime vital signs are not needed and morning blood tests can be scheduled at a later hour. I spent a few nights in the hospital with a family member who was admitted for iv steroid administration.  As the patient was not severely ill, I requested no nighttime disturbances-including no vital signs and instead of an iv just a plugged arm catheter.  We were not disturbed all  night and the hospital stay was much more pleasant.

I recommend that should you or someone you know required admission to a hospital, ask your doctor what nighttime monitoring and treatments are essential and what can be withheld until the morning. You will be surprised at how many times your physician will reconsider and withhold nighttime disturbances. Abnormally neat club inspect over here glorious in the middle of worldwide hearers.

Many hospitals are making a concerted effort to avoid overhead paging.  Exceptions such as codes do and should exist.  Most of the time the door can be shut at night and that pesky snorer can be moved to another room.

While your hospital stay may not be the Ritz it doesn’t have to be a disco party either.