The problem of alarm fatigue has gained attention in recent years, with evidence showing that it can threaten patient safety. Now hospitals are finding ways to effectively address the problem by minimizing the number of alarms and prioritizing the rest, and they also are finding that something as simple as a trash can lid can play a role in alarm fatigue.
Alarm fatigue has risen to the level of a recognized safety risk that must be addressed. The Joint Commission (TJC) found 98 alarm-related instances of patient harm, including 80 deaths and 13 cases of permanent disability between January 2009 and June 2012. As of January 2016, TJC's National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs) mandate that hospitals take definitive steps to imprement policies and procedures to safely reduce and prioritize the number of primary and secondary alarms. the ECRI Institute ranked alarm proliferation as the second top technology hazard in 2016, and an investigation by the The Boston Globe found more than 200 deaths nationally related to alarm problems.