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How fast should nurses respond to call lights?

On Behalf of | May 16, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

Many hospitals and medical centers will use call lights or bells. A patient who needs assistance can push a button or pull a string and it alerts the nursing staff. They can then respond to find out what the patient needs. It could be everything from needing more medication to wanting a meal to needing assistance getting out of bed or going to the restroom. 

Obviously, it’s important for nurses to respond quickly. But how quickly should they show up? 

One study averaged under 2 minutes

There are going to be different response times at different facilities, depending on staffing and many other factors. One hospital decided to spend six months checking on the average response times by their nursing staff. What they found was that it usually took a minute and 43 seconds, on average, for a nurse to respond to the patient. 

That is an impressive time, but one thing to consider is that this is the average. That means that some people probably got immediate responses from nurses who were close by, while others may have had to wait much longer. 

This can be problematic. For instance, imagine that you have a loved one in the hospital and they need emergency assistance. They push the call button, but a nurse doesn’t show up for 5 or 10 minutes. They could pass away from the issues they’re experiencing, if it’s serious, like a heart attack or a stroke. Even if they are eventually given proper assistance, they could have serious complications or injuries. 

You may think that the nurses were being neglectful not to respond much faster than they did. In a situation like that, it’s important for you and your family to know exactly what legal options you have.