Here is an interesting article in the Boston Globe about "alarm fatigue". It details the problems behind having so many monitors on so many patients . This results in nurses who are constantly dashing to see patients for overly sensitive warnings. Why so many alarms? Lawsuits and CYA. There is a risk to the patient’s safety if they made the monitor less sensitive but there is also a risk of desensitizing the nurses. So what is the answer? Get ready:
A new “we promise’’ campaign requires a nurse or technician to ask a patient every hour whether they have pain, need a drink, or require help using the bathroom — a program intended to reduce falls but that nurses on LaRocca’s floor said also has reduced bed alarms and call button alerts. The cardiac unit has hired a monitor technician who sits at the central nurses’ station to help triage the alarms.
I understand the need for better systems to improve patient care and safety but look at what they did. They added more responsibilities to already overworked nurses. Also, you will see the word "technician" used twice in the above section. Can you see a trend? Why not hire more nurses so they have less patients to care for? Then you wouldn't have to pay a consultant, form three committees, create two action groups and hire three new administrative positions to oversee this issue. You would have enough nurses who just care about people that they would naturally do their job and do it well.