Quality & Patient Safety

Pennsylvania association promotes standardized wristbands to prevent errors

Patient Safety Monitor, October 1, 2008

Red, green, yellow, purple, and pink—these are the colors of one wristband color system improving patient safety in hospitals across the nation. But the key to success isn’t just the colors; it’s the fact that one particular color-coding system is catching on. It’s common for hospitals to use an array of colors for patient wristbands as reminders for certain conditions, such as allergies or fall risks, but Bonnie Haluska, RN, CRRN, assistant vice president of inpatient services at Allied Services Rehabilitation Hospital in Scranton, PA, says having different color-coding methods in different hospitals puts patients’ lives at risk. The standardized color-coding program she helped create has been replicated in hospitals located in more than 20 states, and it was officially recognized by the Hospitals & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania in June.

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