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Comment & Response
August 13, 2014

Hospital Alarms and Patient Safety

Author Affiliations
  • 1College of Medicine, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  • 2Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA. 2014;312(6):651. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.7648

To the Editor Drs Chopra and McMahon1 highlighted several valid points about the need to redesign patient alarms. However, the authors overlooked the most important reason to redesign the hospital acoustic environment of care—to improve patient safety and well-being.

Hospital noise routinely exceeds World Health Organization acceptable standards and is more than just an annoyance.2 This failure to provide patients with quiet rooms affects clinical outcomes through several mechanisms including sleep deprivation, cardiovascular derangements (increased heart rate and blood pressure), poor wound healing, higher incidence of rehospitalization, patient falls, pain, stress, and dissatisfaction.3

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