Color-Coded Wristbands Provide Extra Layer of Protection

You might be sporting a new accessory next time you check in to a hospital.

Stormont-Vail has joined hospitals implementing a color-coded wristband system.

Cindi Bonjour-Molden, RN, deputy director of Stormont's post-surgical services, says the wristbands notify medical staff of certain risk conditions at a glance.

Stormont is using four color-coded bands. Yellow is for patients who might be at risk for falling; red is for allergies in general; green is specifically for latex allergies; and purple is for people with a "do not resuscitate" order.

Bonjour-Molden says the wristbands can help people know about the risks at a glance. For example, even a worker with environmental services or from the business office can see a yellow band and know the patient shouldn't be out walking the halls by himself. With latex allergies, a patient can leave their room for an xray, and the xray staff can easily tell they shouldn't wear latex gloves.

In life-threatening situations, Bonjour-Molden says, staff is often acting quickly and may not have extra time to be looking for DNR information. The wristband makes it easy to know a patient's wishes.

The color-coded bands don't replace standard procedures of checking a patients chart for these things, but it does add an extra layer of protection to avoid errors. The wristbands are part of a nationwide initiative by the American Hospital Association, which standardizes colors and uses of the bands.

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