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Patient safety

Alarms set off wired, wireless alerts at hospital

By Louise Kinross

TORONTO – Children at Bloorview Kids Rehab who use ventilators to breathe are the first in Canada to benefit from a rigorous alarm system that combines wired and wireless technology to alert staff if they experience airway problems.

The Bernoulli monitoring and notification system identifies problems and automatically forwards alarms with visual and sound alerts to a desktop computer at the central nursing station and to pagers carried by a respiratory therapist and clinical nurse leader.

Previously, ventilator problems set off an audible alarm in a box outside the client’s room, but hearing the alarms was sometimes an issue and the nurse responding had to take a next step of calling for support from a respiratory therapist and clinical nurse leader.

“Parents really like the quick notification to the central workstation and especially the fact that a respiratory therapist and clinical leader are paged and provide additional support from both disciplines,” says Chitra Gnanasabesan, the respiratory therapist who led the implementation.

The Bernoulli system also monitors client oxygen levels and offers wireless monitoring of their life-support systems when they’re in their wheelchairs on the unit or in Bloorview’s school.

A future goal is to work with the manufacturer to develop a remote surveillance system that allows clients to move freely throughout the building and on the property outside.

The new system provides richer information and feeds it electronically into Bloorview’s computer system, thereby reducing the amount of manual checking and documenting previously performed by nurses.

The system also stores messages so that trends in a child’s medical problems can be tracked and analyzed. The company supplying the Bernoulli monitoring solution is Cardiopulmonary Corp., of Milford, Conn. Cardiopulmonary Corp. designs, develops, and implements medical enterprise software for life-support critical care medical applications.

Louise Kinross is Communications Manager at Bloorview Kids Rehab in Toronto.