4 ways nurses can fight alarm fatigue

The American Association of Critical Care Nurses recently released a practice alert to help hospitals manage the clinical alarms that notify providers when patients' conditions change.

The flood of noisy alarms during long shifts often results in providers feeling fatigued, delaying or reducing their response to the alarms, which threatens patient safety.

The nurse association's alert is meant “to help nurses provide the safest patient care possible when managing clinical alarms in acute and critical care environments," said Linda Bell, MSN, RN and a clinical practice specialist with the nurse association.

"The issue of alarm fatigue can most effectively be addressed, and eventually eliminated, by working with the people closest to the patient and those who support the needs of the patient," the association stated.

The four strategies:

1. Develop interprofessional teams to collect data and address clinical alarm-related issues.

2. Create default parameters and alarm management policies that are specific to different hospital units.

3. Provide ongoing education on monitoring systems and managing alarms for unit staff.

4. Establish policies and procedures for monitoring only those patients with clinical indications for monitoring.

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