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Several devices, including the monitors, ventilators, infusion pumps and beds have alarms. These alarms monitor various features and are very sensitive to changes in the patients movement or response. They are activitated easily to ensure that the nurse is rapidly made aware of possible problems.
Unfortunately, alarms may occur frequently, especially if a patient is restless, coughing or tries to speak. Most of the alarms occur when there is nothing wrong with the patient.
Families are often startled by the number of alarms in critical care. Most family members become more comfortable as the alarms become familiar.
Last Reviewed: October 23, 2014