Identifying patient: what if they can't state birthday?


At school we are taught to id pt by asking them to state their name and birthday,and look at the arm band... what if they can state name, but too confused mentally to state birthday?

Editorial Team / Admin

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,336 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.

There are times you have to use other options than the patient identifying themselves. Sometimes it means confirming with a family member (common in peds or ICU where the patient is sedated/vented), or if there isn't family available confirming with another nurse or other identifiers in the chart- my facility now includes patient pictures in the EMR, we've used medical record number on the band to match the EMR, etc.


700 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg. Has 1 years experience.

Then you can never give them any medication or treat them at all.

Kidding! I have patients family members ask this sometimes when their loved one is too confused to tell me name and or DOB. You compare their name and DOB to their armband ID back to your eMAR.