Patient monitoring in cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) is considered to be non-invasive and safe, but it can cause unintentional catastrophic consequences due to the alarm fatigue. The aim of the study was to determine the status of monitoring system alarms and nurses’ alarm fatigue.
This descriptive, cross-sectional study was carried out in cardiac intensive care units of a hospital in Fars province from January to March 2019. The alarm status of 24 monitoring devices was observed for 100 hours in 100 patients under the physiological monitoring. Patients under monitoring were included in the study using a continuous and convenience sampling. Also, 62 nurses working in five CICUs of this hospital completed the alarm fatigue questionnaire (through census). The data obtained from the observation and the questionnaires were analyzed by the SPSS software version 16 using descriptive statistics.
The auditory alarms of monitoring devices were turned off and only visual alarms could be recorded. In the visual alarms recorded during 100 hours, 131 alarms (53.47%) were technical, followed by the false, nuisance, and ultimately real or actual alarms with rates of 40 (16.33%), 38 (15.51%) and 36 (14.69%), respectively. The mean (and standard deviation) score of alarm fatigue among nurses was 21.04 (7.52), and the alarm fatigue score for %50 of nurses was higher than the average score.
Turning off the auditory alarms can lead to serious risks to patients. Also, a high proportion of technical, nuisance, and false alarms can cause alarm fatigue in nurses. Adopting solutions in accordance with standard guidelines and checking physiological monitoring devices in hospitals are necessary in order to reduce false, nuisance, and technical alarms. Failure to pay attention to these issues leads to the alarm fatigue among nurses, which itself results in numerous consequences such as compromising the patients’ safety.
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