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Three Lessons Learned to Reduce Alarm Fatigue and Improve Alarm Management and Patient Safety in Hospitals
Date:6/19/2013

CHICAGO, June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety recently released three lessons to reduce alarm fatigue.

The need to urgently address this issue has been emphasized by The Joint Commission in its Sentinel Event Alert #50, "Medical device alarm safety in hospitals." According to The Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert database, between January 2008 and June 2012, there were 98 alarm related events reported, of which:

  • 80 resulted in death (82%)
  • 13 resulted in permanent loss of function (13%)
  • 5 resulted in unexpected additional care or extended care (5%)

According to The Joint Commission, alarm fatigue occurs when clinicians become desensitized or immune to the sound of an alarm. Fatigued clinicians may:

  • Turn down alarm volume
  • Turn off alarm
  • Adjust alarm settings.

Any of these actions may jeopardize patient safety. A tragic example of alarm fatigue is 17-year old Mariah Edwards, who following successful removal of her tonsils, died after nurses muted the sound on the monitors that were in place to alert caregivers of deterioration of her physical condition following opioid administration.

First Lesson -- To Reduce Alarms Turn to John Hopkins Research

The most referenced research for reducing false alarms and increasing the number of actionable alarms is that of Maria Cvach, RN, MSN, CCRN (assistant director of nursing and clinical standards at The Johns Hopkins Hospital) and her colleague

SOURCE Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety
Copyright©2012 PR Newswire.
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