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Color coded alert wristbands are an increasingly popular method for reducing medical errors and increasing patient safety. Alert wristbands identify a unique medical condition and assist staff members to quickly identify and treat any situation.
Among hospitals using color-coded alert bands, there are a number of common
alerts that are distinguished with a separate wristband, including:
Facilities can choose from a variety of colored wristbands, many that are preprinted with the alert. In addition, The St. John Companies has a number of proprietary and innovative products, all latex and phthalate free, including St. John’s In-A-Snap® alert clasps, that enable facilities to consolidate their alerts into their primary identification wristband.
- Fall Risk
- Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)
- Restricted Extremity
- No Latex
State Color-coded Wristband Standardization
A survey conducted in 2005 by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System provided greater insight into the potential risks associated with color-coded wristbands. This issue gained national attention when, in December 2005, a patient-safety advisory was issued from the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System. The advisory reported an incident that occurred in a hospital in which clinicians nearly failed to resuscitate a patient who had a cardiopulmonary arrest because the patient had been incorrectly designated as DNR. The source of the confusion was a nurse who incorrectly placed a yellow wristband on the patient with the understanding that it meant “restricted extremity,” as it did in another hospital where she worked. However, it meant DNR in that hospital. In response to this survey, state hospital associations have been spearheading color coded wristband standardization initiatives with their members. Standardization initiatives to ensure that color coded wristbands do not cause confusion have been implemented in Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and West Virginia.
See what your state is doing with color-coded wristband standardization - Click Here!