Alarm Fatigue and Patient Safety
  • Alarm Fatigue is becoming recognized as both a work environment and a patient safety issue

    Did you know that nurses can hear up to 700 alarms per patient day?1 Alarm fatigue is a condition where caregivers become overloaded and desensitized to the constant sound of clinical alarms. From 2005-2008, there were 566 patient deaths related to clinical alarms, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).2 With alarm fatigue becoming more recognized, the Joint Commission has required all healthcare facilities to have an alarm management program by January 1, 2016.

    Reducing some of the false clinical alarms may help lower alarm fatigue that your nursing staff may feel. 3M can help troubleshoot what factors affect an ECG trace as well as the proper electrode application. These factors may help you reduce false ECG alarms and get the quality trace you're looking for.3,4

    Download the whitepaper Proper Skin Preparation Improves Trace Quality and Reduces ECG Monitoring Alarms

Understanding ECG Traces and Proper Techniques When it Comes to Clinical Alarms

  • Alarm Fatigue: Troubleshooting Motion Artifact ECG Trace

    Have you seen this ECG trace?

    Motion artifact is commonly seen on ECG traces. The most likely culprit is muscle movement. Learn how to easily fix this and other commonly seen artifact on ECG traces that can create unwanted clinical alarms.

    Troubleshooting ECG Traces

  • Proper 3M™ Red Dot™ Electrode Application to help reduce alarm fatigue

    Proper electrode application techniques can help reduce alarm fatigue5

    Reducing some monitoring alarms can be in your control. Before applying an electrode, remember to do the following: clip excessive hair, clean the skin, abrade the skin* and properly apply the electrode.

    How to apply and remove electrodes

  • References

    1. Cvach, M., "Monitor Alarm Fatigue: An Integrative Review", Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology, July/Aug 2012, 268-277
    2. Alarming Monitor Problems: Preventing Medical Errors. FDA Patient Safety News, January 2011 available at accessed Sept 9, 2015.
    3. 3M Data on file.
    4. Oster, C. Proper Skin Prep Helps Ensure ECG Trace Quality. Biomedical Instrumentation and Technology. Volume 34 No 3, May/June 2000, pp. 219-222.
    5. Sendelbach S, Wahl S, Anthony A, Shotts P. Stop the Noise: A Quality Improvement Project to Decrease Electrocardiographic Nuisance Alarms. Critical Care Nurse Vol 35, No. 4, August 2015

    *Skin abration is not recommended for pediatric patients.