Accreditation

Putting together an alarm management plan

Accreditation Insider, September 29, 2015

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The topic of alarm hazards has crowned ECRI's top 10 list of health technology hazards for the last four years. It's no wonder: Spend any amount of time in a hospital, either as an employee or a visitor, and you are bound to be greeted by a barrage of beeps, various alarms, and other sounds.

Studies have shown that healthcare workers are subjected to hundreds of such alarms every shift, and that after a while, the sounds turn into white noise that can be ignored, causing alarm fatigue.

Alarm sounds can come from any number of sources, including:
•    Infusion smart pumps
•    Bed exit alarms
•    Pulse oximetry
•    Electrocardiograms

In 2013, The Joint Commission issued Sentinel Event Alert #50 after a study showed that 80 patients had died as a result of alarm-related events. And in 2014, The Joint Commission issued a National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) on clinical alarms, NPSG.06.01.01, to help hospitals combat this problem.

This is an excerpt from an article in the monthly training resource Briefings on The Joint Commission. To read more, visit here to log in or subscribe.



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