AHA asks hospitals to consider standardized colors for alert wristbands

The AHA is asking all hospitals to consider using three standardized colors for alert wristbands to improve patient safety. All hospitals are invited to attend one of two AHA informational calls on the topic scheduled for Sept. 19 and 23.

To alert caregivers to certain patient risks, many facilities use color-coded patient wristbands. However, if hospitals use different colors for these alerts, caregivers working in more than one facility may have difficulty always responding in the appropriate manner. Standardizing the colors of the wristbands used in hospitals is the sensible approach to improving patient safety, and many state hospital associations have already engaged their hospitals in this effort.

In a Sept. 4 advisory , AHA notes, “Standardizing the colors that hospitals use to alert staff to certain patient risks is a common-sense approach to improving patient safety. Many physicians and nurses work in multiple hospitals within their communities and even across state lines. In states that have adopted the consensus wristband colors, caregivers have welcomed the standardization and report reduced confusion caused by the numerous previous variations.” The AHA is focusing on three condition alerts that have been adopted in consensus by the states that have taken action on this issue.

The three alerts and their corresponding standardized colors are:

RED = ALLERGY ; YELLOW = FALL RISK ; PURPLE = DO NOT RESUSCITATE

See the AHA Advisory for more information on the information calls.

(SOURCE: AHA News Now , http://www.ahanews.com, September 5, 2008)