Reducing infection control has been a key theme when disposing of human waste in healthcare environments. The shift from reusable bedpans and washers to disposable pulp bedpans and macerators has improved infection risk rates. It’s also freed up time for nursing staff that would otherwise be spent emptying and cleaning.
Traditionally macerators have been installed in the sluice room. However new hospital projects (being built under the NHS procurement framework) are encouraged to make repeatable room arrangements. This can make the journey to the sluice room longer and increase the risk of spillage and cross infections.
To mitigate these risks, macerators have been installed at point of care. However it’s been reported of a reluctance to run the machines at night. Understandably ward staff are concerned with the effect of noise on patient’s recovery.
Noise levels in a typical hospital
To put this in perspective, a typical macerator operates at 60 – 65dB. 60dB is the level of normal conversation but also the average night-time hospital noise. Studies at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton found noise levels on an average medical ward exceeded 60dB most of the time.
It’s not just patients affected. Noises above 60dB do mean sleep disturbance but also increasing annoyance for staff who may experience increased fatigue, emotional exhaustion and difficulty in communication leading to errors.
In response to the possible negative impact on patient healthcare outcomes, our design engineers worked with noise analysis experts to understand how macerator sound can be improved.
The first macerator to be recognised by Quiet Mark
Now we’ve launched Solo dB that performs at just over 50dB – a reduction of 10dB. To explain the impact its made, the smallest audible sound (near total silence) is 0 db. A sound 10 times more powerful is 10 db, a sound 100 times more powerful than near total silence is 20 db and a sound 1,000 times more powerful than near total silence is 30 db. So it’s more than twice as quiet as other macerators!
This achievement has resulted in Solo dB being the first macerator to receive a Quiet Mark award (an assessment award in association with the Noise Abatement Society).
With this mark of approval for our low-noise technology, it means that the Solo dB can sit alongside the toilet (which incidentally makes a noise of 75dB when flushed) to truly become part of a stress-free patient and staff environment.