Joint Commission Issues Alert on Medical Device Alarm Safety

The Joint Commission issued a Sentinel Event Alert for "alarm fatigue" among hospital staff caused by an overabundance of information transmitted by medical devices that can compromise patient safety.

According to the alert, about 85 to 99 percent of alarm signals do not require clinical intervention, leaving staff desensitized to the signals or compelled to turn down or turn off alarms — which can both have serious consequences.

The Joint Commission's Sentinel Event Database includes reports of 80 alarm-related deaths between January 2009 and June 2012; the Food and Drug Administration's Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience database reveals that 566 alarm-related patient deaths were reported between January 2005 and June 2010.

To combat the problem, The Joint Commission recommends establishing guidelines for safe alarm management and alarm settings, ensuring proper maintenance of alarm equipped devices and providing hospital staff with training on safe alarm management.

More Articles on Joint Commission Alerts:

Joint Commission Issues Opioid Overuse in Hospitals Alert
Joint Commission Issues Sentinel Event Alert on Healthcare Worker Fatigue
Joint Commission Urges Providers to Minimize Risk of Cumulative Radiation Doses

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