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Alarm fatigue
The price for patients

High noise levels negatively affect patient outcomes

As a caregiver, you know that alarm fatigue takes its toll on staff. An environment of noise and stress takes a heavy toll on patients, too, interfering with their attempts to sleep, rest and recover.

Stressful, loud care environments can result in:

  • Altered blood pressure and heart rates1
  • Negative effects on the immune system2
  • Slower healing and increased length of stay2
  • Lower patient satisfaction3
  • Delirium

Time spent responding to nuisance alarms is time lost for direct patient care."

Nurse manager


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That beeping in my head

For care teams, alarms are an everyday experience. For disoriented patients, the unfamiliar sounds can be unsettling—or deeply frightening. Put yourself in a patient's shoes and hear how a patient in urgent care may experience alarms.

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and listen

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Turn on your sound to get the full experience

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Real-life experience

After a traumatic accident, Kathy woke up in ICU. She couldn’t see, speak or breathe on her own—but she could hear everything. In this video, she shares what it was like to bond with a nurse during her time on life support.

Watch the video yourself now.

Noise pollution: an intrusive issue for critically ill patients

Despite interventions aimed at decreasing noise, sound levels in the ICU far exceed World Health Organization (WHO) noise recommendations, especially at night. Discover the effect of noise on seriously ill patients and the evidence-based strategies you can use to protect them.

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Links between delirium and hospital noise

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Watch a video about delirium in the ICU

Confusion, memory deficits, hallucinations.

Patients’ delirium risk increases with environmental factors like noise, lights and sleep deprivation. ICU patients are especially likely to become delirious—a terrifying experience with dire health consequences.

The good news? Up to 30% of cases can be prevented with non-pharmacological interventions, like making care environments more tranquil.

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A NICU parent sheds light on surprising consequences of alarm fatigue

The dangerous effects of alarm fatigue on staff and patients are well reported. But what’s it like to be a family member of a baby in intensive care and to struggle with alarm fatigue?

For this mom, the issue went far beyond affecting patient satisfaction. Here, she shares how alarm fatigue affected her baby and changed her relationship with the care team.

Don't miss out on this must read story.

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Alarm management:
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What drives alarm fatigue?

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Alarm management 101
Find out why alarms are more than just a nuisance.



[1] Cropp, A., et al. “Name that tone: the proliferation of alarms in the intensive care unit”, Chest, 1994, V: 105.4, p. 1217.

[2] Aboukhalil, A., et al. “Reducing false alarm rates for critical arrhythmias using the arterial blood pressure waveform”, Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 2008, V: 41, pp. 442-451.

[3] Solet, J., et al. “Managing alarm fatigue in cardiac care”, Progress in Pediatric Cardiology, 2012, V: 33, pp. 85-90.

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