Accreditation

Simple advance directive identifier limits confusion

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, March 1, 2008

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It's amazing how far a piece of red plastic can go toward improving how a facility tracks patient information. Attached to every patient chart at Garrett County Memorial Hospital in Oakland, MD, you will find a red plastic sheet. The sheet is easy to locate quickly in the documentation and handy for verifying information during an emergency situation-which is important, since the plastic sheet contains the patient's advance directive information. It seems like a simple fix: electing to use a brightly colored plastic cover for legal paperwork in the patient's record. But given how sensitive the issue of advance directives is, and how it can require split-second decisions to be made about the treatment a patient in distress will receive, a simple but effective method of communicating advance directive information is pivotal.

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