Release Date: 12-12-2006 Click here for a larger view
(Honesdale, December 12, 2006)… Wayne Memorial Hospital has joined Scranton hospitals Mercy, Community Medical Center, Moses Taylor and seven other northeast Pennsylvania medical centers in adopting the same color patient wristbands for the same “at risk” conditions. For example, a yellow wristband now means “Fall Risk” at all the medical facilities.
“This is for our patients’ safety,” says Karen Novobilski, RN, WMH Staff Development and Patient Safety Committee member. “We have nurses working here who also work in other facilities. When they see a colored wristband on a patient, they should know instantly what that color means—and it should mean the same thing at all the facilities. This is going to greatly cut down the chances for mis-reading a patient’s condition.”
In the past, the wristbands have not been the same color from one hospital to another—a “Fall Risk” at Mercy used to be orange. That created a potential for misinterpretation, as Novobilski points out, by staff who had familiarized themselves with a different color system at a different healthcare facility.
“The standardization also helps when patients are transferred from one hospital to another for a special procedure,” Novobilski continues. “The wristbands will be read the same way.”
The new standardization rules arose out of a report by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, an independent state agency. It told the story of a near-disaster, when a patient who went into cardiac arrest almost died, because a nurse had incorrectly placed a “yellow” wristband on the patient. In that hospital the yellow band meant “Do Not Resuscitate.” However, in a nearby hospital, where the same nurse also worked, yellow referred to a “Restricted Extremity,” i.e. this arm should not be used for procedures such as drawing b