LTC and constant alarms

  1. I work at an LTC which has almost everyone on some kind of bed and wheelchair alarms. The alarms go off continually throughout the night. Usually 2 different alarms go off at the exact same time. How do you cope with the constant noise of alarms going off. I'm a nervous wreck.
  2. Visit Blackcat99 profile page

    About Blackcat99

    Joined: Jan '04; Posts: 3,160; Likes: 1,151
    from US


  3. by   UM Review RN
    You might remind yourself that coping with a loud buzz is far preferable to coping with all the work necessitated by broken bones or lacerations--and a big lawsuit for negligence.:stone
  4. by   PBAJS
    "throughout the night" -
    is this perhaps 3-11 or 11-7?

    the alarms go off continually throughout the night.
    when you check to see why the alarm has sounded, is the reason valid or was it a false alarm? perhaps the chair alarm pad is too far to the back of the chair, when the residents leans forward, the alarm sounds. the bed alarm may not be positioned under the resident properly.

    usually 2 different alarms go off at the exact same time.
    we also have bed call lights (the light over the door flashes white) and bathroom call lights (the light over the door flashes red).

    how do you cope with the constant noise of alarms going off.
    we don't 'cope' with the 'constant noises' - that's part of our job ... to make sure that the resident is safe or to see what the resident may need.

    i'm a nervous wreck.
    when i hear an alarm, i just hope that a resident is not injured.
    now take the resident who grinds his/her teeth ... now that can get on your nerves and send chills up your back and down your spine.

  5. by   CoffeeRTC
    If it is one person setting off the alarms either by shifting wt or actually getting OOB, I've heard some facilities might turn the alarm down and place a baby monitor in the room so that they can hear the alarm, but not disturb all the other residents. We don't. Some times I go home and hear these alarms in my sleep.

    Try looking at reducing the residents need to attempt to get OOB or w/c. Ie toilet, snacks, reposition more frequently (their bums get sore from sitting), take them outside/ off unit for a short ride ( I needed to do this last week...a res was constantly at the doors. finnally we bundled her up and took her outside for a spin...worked.) If they are in bed...get them up..some nights we have 5 or 6 residents up during 11-7 watching TV.
  6. by   Blackcat99
    Thanks all for your messages. I work night shift 10pm to 6:30am. When I hear an alarm I run and get it. While I am with that resident I hear another alarm and am unable to answer it. We only have one CNA and so the nurse has to answer these alarms constantly too. But yes, an alarm is better than having to fill out an incident report.
  7. by   donmomofnine
    Forget avoiding an incident report, an alarm keeps your residents from being hurt!

    Our bed alarms are wired into our pager call bell system, so there is no overhead noise associated with them!
  8. by   mead
    Rather have the alarm go off than accidents! also don't you have a restraint log that has to be filled in hrly? toileting repositioning drink or food can reduce alarms Do they need hs sedation to let them sleep ? and getting them up is the last resort. I am of the generation that didn't have these alarms and know what a boon to resident safty they are ! Let them ring!
  9. by   sassynurse78
    I hear them in my sleep! I love one of our little dears that has figured out that the alarm works real well for a call light to, as she once said "they come faster with this one"! Of course she has fallen and broken bones several times, so she does need it, but sometimes I wanna hide it! lol
  10. by   pumpkin92356
    Quote from Blackcat99
    I work at an LTC which has almost everyone on some kind of bed and wheelchair alarms. The alarms go off continually throughout the night. Usually 2 different alarms go off at the exact same time. How do you cope with the constant noise of alarms going off. I'm a nervous wreck.

    I can relate to this! believe you me I am so tired of those bed alarms, chair alarms, wanderguard bracelets the residents wear to set alarms off if they even go near an exit! We have the kind of alarms that work by pressure sensor, and when the resident moves in bed they go off! I am constantly answering their lights as they ask for the alarm to be removed so they can sleep! then you have the undetected intelligent resident who everyone thinks can't talk or think independently Low and Behold! after careful observation from behind a closed privacy curtain is turning his own alarm off and getting out of bed without calling for a nurse! and when caught denies the whole thing. And then there are the helpful visitors who feel that a resident can have them turn off the alarm because they dont want to bother their ever busy CNA. Alarms are the norm in a great majority of LTC facilities. My question is When does the residents feelings fit into the picture? Title 22 as well as states that a "Resident has a right to be free of Restraints" wouldnt forcing a resident to lose sleep and draw attention to himself with these alarms cross over into that ever present surveyors "Dignity" issue, we as LTC nurses and CNA's are constantly being reminded of by staff members who wouldnt know what to do with a resident if you sat one in front of them.
  11. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from pumpkin92356
    ......"Resident has a right to be free of Restraints" .
    The geniuses who came up with the "restraint free" concept failed to realize that a fx hip is a restraint in itself, and a permanent one, at that. :angryfire

    I empathize with the OP regarding the constant alarms. I no longer work LTC. I'm in dialysis now, and there are even more alarms than in LTC, lol.
  12. by   KrisV27
    Yes. I'm glad someone agrees with me. I work in a nursing home with many combative/behavioral residents. Being almost illegally understaffed, it is almost impossible to get to the alarms on time. Not to mention, EVERYONE has one, whether they need it or not. We have to look in every room just to figure out whose alarm it is. We have had 5 falls just this week (an 85 bed facility). Since the beginning of the year we have had spinal fractures, broken wrists/arms, and blood-splattered on the floor head injuries from falls. For God's sake, if we are going to have confused elderly people living in understaffed, poor quality nursing homes, lets do them a favor and tie them up! At least they will be safe. Oh, did I mention that I work in a "Deficiency-Free State Survey" nursing home?
  13. by   rebel_red

    I have a question. When I work nightshift, on our subacute floor and on our LTC floor as well, it is one LPN and minimum 3 nurses aides and a house supervisor. This is with 60 residents on each floor. It seems to me if it is just yourself and 1 aide and what sounds like the whole floor on bed alarms, there is a much larger issue, regarding resident safety.

    I feel for you, I usually work subacute, where we have 2 bed alarms out of 60. Upstairs though is another matter. When I work upstairs the cacophony gets to me too. And we do take the very restless out into the dining room, feed the folks, toilet them etc, but our house sup is a doll and will do one on one with our restless folks so the aides can do rounds and I can do med pass. This works well. It sounds though like you don't have any "back up".

    Good Luck!
  14. by   Blackcat99
    Yes these non-stop alarms at night drive me nuts. They talk about the elderly and confusion. How can anyone even sleep at night with these alarms? If I had to listen to these alarms all day and all night I wouldn't have any sleep and would naturally be confused from sheer lack of sleep. :angryfire