The Value of Positive Distraction During Lengthy Stays

Julie Westrick |
February 26, 2019

As a nurse, I have often asked myself, “what can I do to make my patients’ stay more comfortable?”  This becomes even more important for those experiencing a long hospital stay.

Winter Months Can Mean Longer Patient Stays

With winter comes more frequent admissions for common illnesses like pneumonia and bronchitis. These conditions often result in multi-day stays.1 

According to a study published in Clinical Cardiology, both admissions and length of stay was highest during winter months for patients who suffer from heart failure.2

So winter is an important time to delve into ways to improve hospital stays for the patient.

How Positive Distraction Helps Patients

Positive distraction and having more control over their environment offer patients an improved experience.  According to Ulrich’s theory of supportive design, stress can be reduced in the healthcare environment by providing the patient with an increased sense of control over his or her surroundings, access to social support, and access to positive distraction. 

This theory was tested where it was found that the elements in a room where patients recover makes a significant difference on their level of stress.3  Rooms where patients had an increased control, positive distraction and access to social support decreased the level of stress.3 

Positive distraction can also be instrumental in reducing pain.  If we can help patients focus their attention on something else, we can draw their attention away from their pain making it more manageable.4

Options from SONIFI Health

SONIFI Health can be instrumental in providing the patient with increased control and opportunities for positive distraction.  The interactive TV can offer the options of temperature control, window blinds control, and meal ordering.  An interactive patient discharge checklist allows the patient to be more involved with their own care and a part of the discharge planning process.  Positive distraction can be provided through music, movies, games, and relaxation content. Our STAYCASTTM solution, powered by Google Chromecast, even allows patients use their own familiar devices to stream content such as Netflix or YouTube to the in-room TV and so they feel more at home.

Learn more about SONIFI Health’s positive distraction options here.



1. Bai, D. (2018, September 6). Intensive Care Unit Usage for Pneumonia Doubles Length of Hospital Stay. Retrieved from AJMC:

2. Adrade, C., Devlin, A., Pereira, C., & Lima, M. (2017). Do the hospital rooms make a difference for patients’ stress? A multilevel analysis of the role of perceived control, positive distraction, and social support. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 63-72. doi:1016/j.jenvp.2017.06.008

3. Akintoye, E., Briasoulis, A., Egbe, A., Adegbala, O., Alliu, S., Sheikh, M., . . . Levine, D. (2017). Seasonal variation in hospitalization outcomes in patients admitted for heart failure in the United States. Clinical Cardiology, 40(11), 1105-1111. doi:2002/clc.22784

4. Mazer, S. E. (2018, June 29). Pain Management: What Do We Do When We Run Out of Opioids? Retrieved from Healing Healthcare Systems:


Author: Julie Westrick

Julie Westrick is a Clinical Education Specialist for SONIFI Health. Julie brings extensive experience in women's & children's care to our clinical team and a passion for inspiring nurses and improving patient care. Julie is a Registered Nurse who holds a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with an emphsis on Leadership in Health Care System, and also certified in Inpatient Obstetrics (C-OB), Electronic Fetal Monitoring (C-EFM), and Certified Patient Experience Professional (CPXP).