Advancements in both medicine and technology have made it easy for healthcare providers to monitor vital signs continuously and in real time when treating patients. Although relying on such equipment can—and does—save lives, there is one major drawback of using it for virtually every patient in every scenario.
According to The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Advanced Critical Care, up to 99 percent of clinical alarms are false. That means when a patient is actually in distress and an alarm sounds, the providers nearby may not respond with adequate urgency.
The constant use of monitoring devices can cause sensory overload and eventually desensitize doctors and nurses to their warning signals. This is known as alarm fatigue, which is essentially the result of prolonged exposure to an excessive number of beeping machines
Even though alarms are only legitimate a mere fraction of the time, it only takes one missed or ignored warning for life-threatening complications to arise. If you have been accused of ignoring a critical alarm and are facing a lawsuit as a result, it is essential to start devising a defense immediately.The medical malpractice defense lawyers at Lubell Rosen know what it takes to find success in these cases. Call (305) 655-3425 to schedule a case evaluation with a medical malpractice defense attorney.
How Can Healthcare Providers Prevent Alarm Fatigue?The Joint Commission Perspectives on Patient Safety offers several strategies for both healthcare facilities and individual providers to prevent alarm fatigue. Their recommendations include:
- Creating a multidisciplinary task force comprising physicians, nurses, clinical engineers, and IT staff who can review trends and devise procedures for combatting specific issues that cause alarm fatigue;
- Taking steps to reduce the number of false alarms that occur;
- Clarifying who is responsible for noticing alarms, assessing the situation, and responding as needed;
- Developing procedures that will ensure the continuous monitoring of patients who need to be moved within the hospital or transported to an outside facility; ity;
- Analyzing every kind of alarm and evaluating how staff responds to each one;
- Training staff periodically on alarm management;
- Tracking manufacturer recalls of any equipment that they use; and
- Implementing a culture of safety that prioritizes patients above all else.