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Alarms in ICU : a study investigating how ICU nurses respond to alarm limits for patient safety.

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Introduction There is a need to identify alarm management challenges in South African ICU units, to revise and structure educational and training programmes to ensure ICU nurses utilise technological resources for patient safety and to deliver quality patient care. Aim This research study is aimed to investigate the responses of ICU nurses to alarm limits in their ICU environment for patient safety. Research methods This descriptive survey study was conducted with permanent and sessional ICU nurses at a private healthcare institution in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. A quantitative design was used with a structured questionnaire as the data collection instrument. The total of 120 ICU registered and enrolled nurses were chosen as the sample population and a total of 91 questionnaires were completed and returned. Results The results indicated that the challenges with alarm management experienced were related to inadequate education and training on alarm management and the distraction of managing frequent and numerous false alarms in the ICU facility contributed to delayed responses of the ICU nurses to alarming limits. Recommendations Recommendations included reviewing the current content and methods of education and training of alarm management and medical equipment that was done on a frequent basis. Conclusion Alarm specific training is required to keep ICU nurses updated with changes in technology so that they are better equipped to ensure patient safety and quality of care.


Master of Nursing in Critical Care and Trauma. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College 2015.


Intensive care units -- South Africa., Monitor alarms (Medicine) -- South Africa., Intensive care units -- South Africa -- Nurses., Theses -- Nursing.