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Stories: Bloorview’s high-tech ventilator alarm system a first in Canada

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 system idenfies problems and activates visual and sound alerts at a desktop computer at the central nursing station and on 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 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, reducing the amount of manual checking and documenting done previously by nurses. The system also stores messages so that trends in a child’s medical problems can be tracked and analyzed.

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