Joint Commission warns of alarm fatigue

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The Joint Commission has issued a warning to providers about the dangers of alarm fatigue, which can occur when clinicians become desensitized to the incessant beeping of medical device alarms. In a Sentinel Event Alert issued Monday, the Oakbrook Terrace, IL.-based organization cautioned that various alarm systems — including ventilators, blood pressure monitors and infusion pumps — may undermine resident safety.

That's especially the case when alarms “create similar sounds, when their default settings are not changed, and when there is a failure to respond to their alarm signals.” As a result, providers may become immune to the sounds, turn down the volume, adjust settings outside safe limits or turn the alarm off, according to the commission.

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