Why does everything beep?

Another annoying thing in the hospital is the beeping. Why does the IV pump need to beep loudly in my ear when the nurse is the only one who can fix it? Doesn’t it make more sense for it to beep next to the person who can do something about it? It is especially annoying when I have a headache (which is after each of my treatments). With all of the technology today, surely there is the ability to make it quiet in my room but loud by the nurse?

Also, the nurse call buttons are getting fancier, but it appears that the hospitals aren’t really ready to handle them. For example, the pain button on the remote. It doesn’t do anything different than the Nurse button. If I push the pain button, shouldn’t the person answering know I am asking for something for pain?

And seriously, why does it call a person sitting at a desk who then needs to find the nurse? Can it not page the nurse and then she could pass it to someone else if needed? It is not only annoying to have to tell my problems to the speaker, but I also never know who is listening near the desk on the other end. And, to top it off, they sometimes turn off the light before my nurse comes so I am left waiting when nobody is coming (this is pretty rare as they really do try to come quickly, but it is always a concern because you don’t know if it is working).

Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive after my first video. I will keep making videos about good and frustrating experiences in healthcare. Please comment if you have ideas for a post! Also, I am at home now. I recorded this video during my recent hospital stay for meningitis, but I am recovering at home now.

43 thoughts on “Why does everything beep?

  1. Josh Seidman says:

    The incessant beeping is awful. And, it is not just respecting patients (certainly enough of a reason by itself); there’s an important patient safety aspect as well. See NPR Morning Edition story from earlier this week, and what Boston Medical Center is doing about it. Read or listen at http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/01/24/265702152/silencing-many-hospital-alarms-leads-to-better-health-care.

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  2. Elizabeth Rankin BScN says:

    Way to go Morgan! You may bring more action from health care administrators and those working within institutions than any group has yet to accomplish.

    Liz Rankin [SPM]

    Like

  3. Hi Morgan! I’m so proud of you for this blog. I was age 13 when I first got diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and was in the hospital for surgeries and to have my condition stabilized fairly often.

    I wasn’t always the *best* patient though. One thing my mom (who went with me) and I learned fairly quickly was how to silence the beeps on the IVs. I would typically use the nurse call button, say “My IV is beeping because [it’s finished, there is air in the line, it’s occluded, etc].” Then I would go ahead and silence the alarm myself, since otherwise it may beep for 5, 10, 30 minutes and I’d be losing my mind!

    Disclaimer: Now I would never suggest any medical advice in this area, you should talk to your health care team about ways to fix this issue, but just thought I would share a story from my youth 😉

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  4. suzan-rn says:

    Excellent questions! I am hoping a hospital administrator will honestly answer these questions for you. You are right, there is a better way to do things. Love your videos and the awareness you are bringing about!

    Like

  5. prullo says:

    Would you like to share this concern on a mini segment on my radio programs Speak Up and Stay Alive? I’d love to talk with you.

    Like

  6. prullo says:

    Would you like to talk about this on a mini-segment on my radio shows – Speak Up and Stay Alive? Alarm fatigue is exhausting! I’d love to talk with you. You can email me at speak@speakupandstayalive.com

    Like

  7. You’re asking very good questions 🙂 keep on asking!

    Like

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    Like

  9. Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    Like

  10. Wow, that’s what I was searching for, what a data! existing here at this webpage, thanks admin of this website.

    Like

  11. My mom was in the hospital recently and I asked for BP checks at night to be d/c’d and the hospitalist agreed to it after explaining why they did them…in my mom’s case it didn’t make sense, so she got some sleep. The nurses there were great — and I got to see how much they had to do. They can’t get anything done well if they are constantly interrupted, too — they probably don’t care for the constant beeping, either. Ideas for improvement? Besides earplugs?! You’ve already heard my kudos for the video…

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    • I wish my hospital would do that! But unfortunately it’s required espically with the treatment I receive. I actually have to get it done every single hour!! Even when I’m sleeping they come in and pry my arm out from under the blanket. I’m not sure if it is just the hospital protocol or if it is actually necessary with the medicine to have it done that often

      Like

  12. suzan-rn says:

    Morgan, why don’t you contact the major manufacturers of the IV pumps and ask them this question? I will bet in their research, they have come up with many ideas. It would be very interesting to see their ideas for pumps, what they have tried to sell to hospitals and what hospitals are/are not interested in purchasing. Maybe they have not had enough patient input into the decision making process…..and I think you are an excellent one to help them out! Forward this blog to them and ask for their participation. What do you think?

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    • That is a great idea! I think I will start contacting them. Do you know if there is a list of them?I have heard from Sloan Kettering that they are doing some silent alarms. I want to understand how. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

      • suzan-rn says:

        I googled ‘iv pump manufacturers’ and many sites came up, both manufacturers and suppliers. A supplier probably carries more than one manufacturers pump. This might be a good place to start.

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  13. suzan-rn says:

    I thik the pump in your picture is an Alaris:
    PUMP INFUSION ALARIS
    MANUFACTURER: ALARIS
    Manufacturer’s PHONE: (858) 458-6003 FAX: (858) 458-7507
    AAC ‘L’ ITEM NSN 6515-01-486-4310
    Manufacturer’s Website:

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  14. Tal Givoly says:

    Morgan, these videos resonate so strongly. We’re with our 15-year old daughter in hospital for nearly all of the last 2 months now… we’re totally new with this hospital experience, and we’ve seen most of what you’ve described (staggered visits, endless beeping, and more). Most of this was when we were in the pediatric ICU. Now we’re not there, but even then and certainly now, I’m glad to say that the nurses and doctors are much more considerate of her sleep than in your case – but even though they are considerate, it does get on her nerves from time to time… Now we’re about to move to a different hospital and I hope the staff there is as considerate and not anything like what you are describing…

    So one thing I know – it doesn’t have to be like you describe. She is monitored on telemetry that doesn’t beep in her room. The only beeping in her room is the IV thing – and I (her father) run to take care of that quickly… after silencing it first, of course.

    Keep this up – there’s nothing like hearing these experiences directly!

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    • Thanks for your comment. I hope your daughter is doing better and that the new hospital is treating her well.

      Like

      • Tal Givoly says:

        Thanks, Morgan. She is. My daughter had moved to a different hospital for the past 3 weeks and they have been treating her well and tried to allow her to sleep both in ICU and in the regular ward. The only thing is that some of the nurses really get upset with me for silencing the alarms before going to get them. It’s just that having them beep in my daughter’s ears makes no sense to me. Out of the ICU, the only alarms physically in her room are the infusion alarms and what they do is get me to go get a nurse to fix them… What the pumps beep for is important. But having it beep in her ear makes no sense… Tx for calling out the issue.

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  15. […] tones and other noises make sleeping nearly impossible and even just resting difficult.  But, patients like Morgan aren’t the only ones concerned about all the […]

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  16. Hi Morgan! I have Dermatomyositis, and also got a bad reaction from the IVIG, ended up in the hospital with meningitis too. It’s just terrible! So sorry you’re going through all of this at such a young age. I wanted to also say that your article and video are circulating through our support groups (and on my Facebook page) and we are so proud and grateful that you are spreading awareness of such a rare disease. Keep up the good fight, I’ll be sending positive vibes your way!!

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  17. Hi! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to
    him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

    Like

  18. Tom S. says:

    Morgan, thanks for speaking out. Alarm fatigue affects patients and your healthcare workers alike.

    The good news: There are solutions out there that integrate these systems so that a “pain” button message is delivered right to the nurse assigned to you on a smartphone or other purpose-built wearable device. Similarly, the updates from infusion pumps or other monitoring systems can have those messages delivered to the appropriate person who can take action.

    The “other” news: integrating these systems takes time and money. The leadership at any given hospital needs to understand the “cost” to patients to see the return on investing in these technologies. Patients will get better care, with quieter environments leading to a more tolerable stay, likely leading to better patient outcomes.

    So, keep speaking out. Others, please join Morgan with raising these concerns on your patient surveys and/or by contacting hospital CMIO, CNO, etc.

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