Thursday, September 25, 2008

JCAHO and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

A front page article in the New York Times this morning discussed the standardization of hospital warning band colors for things like allergic reactions, restricted extremities, and DNR status.  I'm all for efforts to improve patient safety, but when they described how blue simply wasn't the right color for DNR bands because they could too readily associated with the phrase "Code Blue" and therefore be confusing, I think the point of over-analyzation had been reached.

The ER where I work has red bands for allergy status, but they don't take the place of communication.  Every time I go to draw blood I ask the patient if I can use that arm, and every time a nurse gives a medication they ask about allergies.  I know that won't work for the confused or unconscious, but it's amazing what you can learn (and what problems you can avoid) by simply talking to your patient.

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