University of South Alabama
Strategies to Reduce Monitor Alarm Fatigue
Monitor alarms are designed to alert caregivers to changes in a patient’s condition and can save lives, but majority of the alarms do not require clinical intervention. However, as the number of alarms encountered by clinicians on a daily basis rises, it has become difficult for caregivers to distinguish between clinically significant alarms and nuisance alarms. As a result, alarm fatigue has become a serious issue, which puts patients at risk. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the research findings of two articles to explore more efficient and effective methods to reduce nurse desensitization to clinical alarms.
Topics of Interest
In Christensen, Dodds, Sauer and Watts (2014) article gathered information on nurses’ perceptions while working in a regional critical care unit (ICU, CCU, HDU) in Australia. Cvach’s (2012) article reviewed seminal research to find effective ways to decrease monitor alarm fatigue. The articles were found in the PubMed database using the keywords "alarm fatigue" and "clinical alarms". The articles were chosen to provide effective information on ways to minimize monitor alarm fatigue. The two articles discussed can help clinicians understand alarm fatigue and the adverse effects it has on nurses and patient safety. With education and proactive measures provided by the research articles, healthcare staff can assist in decreasing the excessive alarms and the undesirable outcomes that often accompany them.
Methods and Purpose
In Christensen et al. (2014) article, a descriptive pilot survey consisting of a 10 piece open-ended multiple choice questionnaire was conducted. The sample population consisted of 48 well trained, bachelor degrees and a few with master degrees, nurses on a 13 bed unit. The questionnaire was developed by the researchers' observations on problem areas associated with alarm fatigue. The
References: Christensen, M., Dodds, A., Sauer, J., & Watts, N. (2014). Alarm setting for the critically ill patient: A descriptive pilot survey of nurses ' perceptions of current practice in an Australian Regional Critical Care Unit. Intensive & Critical Care Nursing, 30(4), 204-210. doi:10.1016/j.iccn.2014.02.003. Cvach, M. (2012). Monitor alarm fatigue: an integrative review. Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology, 46(4), 268-277. Eccles, M., Grimshaw, J., Shekelle, P.G., & Woolf, S.H. (1999). Developing clinical guidelines. West J Med, 170(6), 348-351. www.guidelines.gov