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How Does Your Facility Identify Code Status?


Specializes in Emergency. Has 5 years experience.


I work on a tele unit with very ill pts. Here is my question:

Our unit is trying to come up with a way to identify code status of pts without having to find the chart and look for it. This question came up when an aide trained in BLS, went into a room to check vitals and found the pt not breathing. She was unsure of the code status, and was unsure if she should start CPR untill code status was determined. Is there a discreet way to identify pts who are full codes, no codes, etc.? How does your hospital determine the wishes of a pt without having to fumble for the info in the chart when a pt arrests?


psalm, RN

Specializes in Staff nurse.

Color of arm band is yellow for DNR...white for Full Code. Yellow tape on outside of chart, on cardex and MAR for DNR. This is the protocol through out the hospital so all personnel know it; nursing, lab, xray, nutrition, etc. Hope that helps.

We have a list printed and posted at the nurses station daily, however it does not always help because of the high turn over. What I do is get my pts code status from outgoing nurses. I also read the chart and tell my aids when giving report. Whenever my pts are going for a procedure I let the techs know their code status.

We identify by their ID bracelets. We use red stickers for DNR's, yellow for chemical or limited codes and green for full codes. Don't have to worry about the stickers coming off as we have a clear plastic film with adhesive that goes over the entire band. Also, stickers are put on their charts.

We are anal about changing the bracelets if their code status changes.

Boston-RN, RN

Specializes in LTAC, Telemetry, Thoracic Surgery, ED.

My facility also has pts wear blue bracelets for DNR and a list at the nurses station

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

My facility still does it the old-fashioned way: a green page at the front of the chart means full code status. A red page at the front of the chart indicates DNR status. In other words, we must utilize valuable seconds by flipping open the chart to check the code status of the patient in question.


Specializes in onc, M/S, hospice, nursing informatics. Has 11 years experience.

Purple arm band for DNR.

Problem came up a few months ago with all these colored plastic bands that people are wearing (like the yellow "livestrong" band). Patient had a purple one on similar to our purple. I told him that he might not want to wear that while hospitalized because in an emergency situation someone might not look closely and just see purple and not do CPR. He laughed and quickly removed it!

Ivanna_Nurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in CCU MICU Rapid Response. Has 18 years experience.

Hi there, I work in a smaller rural hospital in ICU. We have 8 beds as well as 18 teles that we monitor that are on the medical surgical floor. DNR status tracings on the monitor are red and full codes are green. That way when someone goes funny on the monitor, we can tell by the color without needing a chart. Our system allows for several different rhythm colors. DNR's on all floors wear blue bracelets as well as have the bright orange state forms in the front of the chart. Good Luck finding something that works! ~Ivanna

al7139, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency. Has 5 years experience.

Thanks for your replies. I will run them by my unit mgr.



Specializes in ICU, ER, EP,. Has 17 years experience.

Our patients wear purple bracelets, there is a purple dot on the door and chart as well.

cardiacRN2006, ADN, RN

Specializes in Cardiac.

My fear would be that some people aren't quick enough to change the arm band if someone changes their mind. I've had families change their mind 1-2 minutes into the arrest (of course we are there when that happens). But I worry that a change has occured and isnt' reflected right away.

For me, in the ICU, code status is passed on in report is on the Kardex, and we also have a sheet in the front of the chart.


Specializes in Med-Surg, mostly.

I work on a Med-Surg/Telemetry unit and we currently use a black and white striped arm band for DNR or DNR-CC.

Hi, newbie nurse here. Our floor is tele, and our institution uses blue bracelets to indicate DNR status. However, I haven't heard code status featured in report unless there's some discrepancy somewhere, and I've been bothered by this. I have made it a point to fish it out of the chart, and from now on I'll be putting it in my reports no matter what the status is. Should be right in there with pt's age, gender, admitting Dx, etc. I may be completely new to this profession, but this strikes me as being a matter in which there should be no ambiguity at all, especially on an acute cardiology floor.

On a related note, I sure hope the bracelet system becomes uniform at some point. I can't imagine being a travel nurse, for instance, and having to learn a new damn color scheme with every change of institution...:down:



Specializes in Medical Oncology, Med-Surg, L & D.

We don't use colored arm bands for code status. we have a code status form in the main chart which needs to be addressed by the MD upon admission. This form has a yellow copy in the bottom which goes to the bedside chart once signed. At the beginning of the shift, we look at the code status and write in our report sheet. If MD didn't address the code status right away, we look at the old chart and if the patient is A/O, we clarify it with them and write a note to the MD (there's a note section in the code status form). It is a case to case basis. If the patient is not alert and oriented and has a family, we ask them for advance directives (to find out who's the primary agent), then we ask the primary agent for the code status. If the patient is not A/O and doesn't have a family, we look for conservatorship, then we ask the conservator for the code status. If there's no one available at all and the patient is not A/O, the patient is considered a Full Code.

vashtee, RN

Specializes in DOU.

The last hospital I worked in had little metal placards with a triangle on it that was placed on the door under the room number of a patient's room if they were DNR.


Specializes in Geriatrics, med-surg,ER, urology, Peds. Has 19 years experience.

At our facility we identify pts that no code with a yellow armband. We do our charting electronically so all our informtion is on the computer. The pts DRN status is identified when the pt. is admitted . As soon as the the DRN order has been written the arm band is placed on the pt.

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