ACCURATE ACCOUNT: Patient Wristbands. What, Who, When, Where And Why.

06 March 2019

WHAT IS A PATIENT WRISTBAND?

A patient wristband is a synthetic band worn by all patients admitted to hospital. It contains important patient data and allows patients to be best identified and cared for.

So what are their key features?

Typically made of soft synthetic rubber or silicone, they are comfortable.

They feature a clip or adhesive closure so that they are secure. Some even have a tamper evidence system, making sure staff or patients can be informed if someone is trying to steal patient data.

The information on them is resistant to substances commonly used in hospitals such as hand sanitizer, cleaning fluids or hot water. It will not be wiped away easily.

There are both adult and child wristbands, both versatile to be used with a variety of hospital printers.

Incinerating a wristband releases harmful CO2 into the atmosphere. Some manufacturers have now made them more eco-friendly, by using CO2 absorbent in their adhesive (e.g. SATO).

 

WHO NEEDS TO WEAR ONE?

Every patient admitted to hospital needs to wear a patient wristband.

 

WHEN WILL YOU FIND ONE ON YOUR WRIST?

When you are admitted to hospital, a patient wristband will be put onto your wrist. Patients with specific requirements may have to wear a coloured band so that staff can easily identify this (examples below).

Risk of fall.

Confusion.

Jehova’s Witnesses not wanting blood products.

Allergies.

Patients who do not want to be resuscitated.

 

WHERE ARE THEY USED?

Patient wristbands are used in all hospital departments within a hospital. Where there are patients…there are patient wristbands.

 

WHY DO THEY EXIST?

Patient wristbands were created so that hospital staff could correctly identify patients and give them customised care, ensuring their stay in hospital is most effective and efficient.

Patient wristbands are important because they provide hospital staff with critical patient information.

Using patient wristbands in hospitals pose many benefits. Many manual checks become eliminated and processes are quickened. Safety incidents reduce and data usage and auditing improve. Overall, patient experience is improved significantly.

 

THE FUTURE OF PATIENT WRISTBANDS

The Countess of Chester Hospital was one of the first UK hospitals to trial electronic patient wristbands in 2017. The technology is known as TeleTracking and involves placing around 4000 sensors around the building which gather data from staff and patient wristbands. A similar technology also exists which is known as RFID wristbands (SATO being a manufacturer of these).

Key advantages of this technology include:

Better collaboration between all hospital departments.

Staff receive important notifications e.g. when support services need to change a bed.

Doctors have more time to spend with patients due to less time spent doing admin and housekeeping.

Patients are seen by the right person at the right time, helping minimise their length of stay.

Staff are able to make reactive decisions using real time data to provide the best level of patient care.

With the pace at which technology is advancing, in the new few years expect to see patient wristbands advancing to a whole new level!