Patient Safety, Nurse Safety and Alarm Fatigue

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, July 17th, 2014

Nineteen out of 20 hospitals surveyed rank alarm fatigue as a top patient safety concern, according to the results of a national survey presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Technology in Anesthesia.

nurse call button - alarm fatigueAlarm fatigue occurs when clinicians become desensitized to the constant noise of alarms or are overwhelmed by the sounds and turn the alarms down or off. The problem has become so widespread that The Joint Commission named it a National Patient Safety Goal now requires accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals to improve their systems.

The findings show hospital staff are exposed to an average of 350 alarms per bed, per day based on a sample from an intensive care unit at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. “That translates into thousands of alarms per unit and tens of thousands of alarms per hospital each and every day,” Wong said.

“Hospitals are greatly concerned about alarm fatigue because it interferes with patient safety, and it exposes patients, and the hospitals themselves, to grave harm,” said Michael Wong, executive director of the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety, who presented the findings at the annual meeting.

To learn how to reduce fatigue of nurses and increase resilience visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. Contact me today to discuss ways we can customize this powerful program for your staff.

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