Recently, a great deal of focus has been on the frequency of monitoring alarms, particularly those that may indicate a potential untoward event for the patient. In an effort to alleviate what we are calling “alarm fatigue,” research is being done on what alarms could be eliminated without increasing patients’ risk. As we consider all the equipment in a patient’s room that has alarms that go off for various reasons, it is important to consider the impact that these alarms may have on the patient. We already know that patients in intensive care units (ICUs) are at risk for delirium and ICU survivors are at risk for posttraumatic stress disorder. Do we understand how all of the “alarming” equipment affects ICU patients’ risks for these problems?

Although the nurse or other provider may be with the patient for a shift, the patient...

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