**Ventilation**

  1. Hi everyone
    I wanted to see what you thought about this. I just finished reading Florence Nightengales "nursing notes" and one of the chapters in her book is on ventilation in the hospital. Miss Nightengales theory is that opening the window is very important to the healing of patients. "Fresh" air is better than circulating "sick" air. I of course believe this to be true, as fresh air is definitely important to our spirit and well being, etc. I noticed however, that all of the hospitals where I have done my clinical rotations, their windows don't open. I don't know what their argument for having windows that don't open is. Perhaps they think the air is well circulated within the hospital? Or maybe they think the patients will become sicker with fresh air or maybe catch pneumonia? I think all hospitals should allow windows to be opened. There is nothing better than "fresh" air, IMO.
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    About CityKat

    Joined: Apr '06; Posts: 587; Likes: 427
    Registered Nurse
    Specialty: Trauma, Trauma, Trauma

    13 Comments

  3. by   nursedawn67
    Quote from StudentNurseBean
    Hi everyone
    I wanted to see what you thought about this. I just finished reading Florence Nightengales "nursing notes" and one of the chapters in her book is on ventilation in the hospital. Miss Nightengales theory is that opening the window is very important to the healing of patients. "Fresh" air is better than circulating "sick" air. I of course believe this to be true, as fresh air is definitely important to our spirit and well being, etc. I noticed however, that all of the hospitals where I have done my clinical rotations, their windows don't open. I don't know what their argument for having windows that don't open is. Perhaps they think the air is well circulated within the hospital? Or maybe they think the patients will become sicker with fresh air or maybe catch pneumonia? I think all hospitals should allow windows to be opened. There is nothing better than "fresh" air, IMO.
    I have to agree, everyone needs some fresh air. I know myself when I have been at work and in the building all day, I get like a headache, I need to step outside and get some air. Heck even when I'm at home I step outside and get air.
  4. by   babynurselsa
    Well one reason is most hospitals are multifloor facilities. Let's just say that I have worked at one facility that a patient got a window open and then proceed to exit said window..........
  5. by   hellonurse36
    Not sure that the "fresh air" that would come through many urban hospital windows would be all that "fresh nowadays, what with pollution etc.

    Terri in Greenville, NC
  6. by   Daytonite
    Yes, I was going to say that's it's a liability issue. Also, keeps intruders out. In today's world, the last thing a facility needs is drug addicts a-coming in through the unsupervised portals of entry. The central air conditioning units in use today are supposed to filter and re-circulate the air at better quality than what is in the outside atmosphere--supposedly.

    We had a worker who was cleaning an upper story window at one facility where I worked. You have to realized that as you go up, the winds increase in intensity. Guess he leaned out the unlocked, open window he was doing something with and, the theory is, the wind pulled him out where he fell to his death. I also worked in a facility that had it's psych units on the 11th floor. Don't know what brilliant mind made that decision. They had two patient's who died. One by committing suicide and jumping out a window. The other by an accidental fall as he was trying to escape confinement. After that it took a signed order from a deity to get any of the keys to unlock one of those windows.
  7. by   TazziRN
    The vent system will circulate "clean" air throughout the building, something that did not happen in Flo's day.
  8. by   CityKat
    Yeh, I see the safety and liability issue. But what about putting bars on the windows of the upper stories? It sounds crazy, but something about having a window shut all the time versus open sort of reminds me of an old attic.
    Pollution is definitely a factor Way to much pollution now adays, for sure.
  9. by   BAndersonRN
    Fresh air is always nice! And it would be nice if we could open windows in the hospital, however just as TazziRN mentioned, the ventilation and climate control systems that are used in the present day are much more elaborate and advanced than what they had 150+ years ago in Florence's time. Not only is there potential problem for patients exiting out windows, but also the possibility of pollen, mold spores, air pollutants, insects, and other potentially irritating substances that would then easily gain access to the hospital. It would also result in the heating and cooling systems working overtime and just overall isn't really that good of an idea in modern day hospitals. Florence was trying to stress that improving air circulation by opening windows would allow for ventilation of stale, stagnant air. Back in those times it was thought that cool night air could cause pneumonia (actually some people still think this today..."Don't go out into the rain without a coat on, you'll catch cold" etc...) so they would keep the windows closed to prevent drafts, cool air, etc since they thought that this was the culpret in causing disease.
  10. by   MIA-RN1
    I am not sure how they heated things in Flo's day, but it could be also that there was smoke from fires or woodstoves thickening up the air a bit and her idea was to clear it out.
  11. by   rn/writer
    We have a good compromise at the large urban hospital where I work. The main part of most window is stationary, but there is a panel below one of them that has a couple of vents that crank open. Little bit of fresh air with no danger of anyone falling/jumping out.
  12. by   augigi
    I worked briefly in an ICU in Norway in December last year - it was -15 deg C and they had the ICU windows open in the room of a postop VAD patient! I was horrified!! The infection risk!
  13. by   GooeyRN
    The windows do open at the last place I worked. But there were always wars between the patients sharing the room as to whether the window should be opened or closed. I wished that they didn't open since I never seemed to make them both happy. But then I guess they would fight over the air conditioner/heater being on or off more.
  14. by   RN and Mommy
    I have to agree with a previous poster that the air in the hospitals is much cleaner than it was in Florence's day. She also discusses the drainage system and how the air would be polluted with foul drainage. I pray that in our facilities we have adequeate drainage and ventilation. We even have those rooms for TB patients and such that push the air directly out of the building (Negative airflow rooms?? Is that what they are called? We don't have any on our floor, but I know they are there). It would be nice to be able to open up a window on a nice day, but in our area we had a suicide (at another hospital) a few years back by a patient who jumped out of a window. Not such a good thing. I can't even imagine what could happen with a alzheimer or dementia patient. You know the type, the ones who scream for everyone to call the police all day and night! If they were able, I know they could escape.

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