Inpatient psych patients refusing to wear ID bracelets, so scanning compliance is poor - what is your practice?

by deweydecimal13501 deweydecimal13501 Member

Specializes in Library Director. Has 20+ years experience.


I am the Library Director at my health system submitting this question for the Nurse Clinician in Psychiatric Services.    She wants to know what others are doing and I figured this is one of the best places for that.  I  hope I can get a lot of responses.  Her question is below.  


QUESTION:   Bar-code scanning practices of ID bracelets of patients housed in inpatient psychiatric units.   We are struggling with patients refusing to wear ID bracelets, so bar-code scanning compliance of ID bracelets is poor.  We would like to know the practice of other Psychiatric hospitals/inpatient psychiatric units experiencing the same challenge.


Thank-you in advance for any answers I receive. 

Deweydecimal13501  🙂

deza, MSN, NP

Specializes in psych. Has 6 years experience. 79 Posts

My last job I think we were supposed to get another nurse to verify the patient when they didn't have an armband. Most of us would grab our pt's labels at the beginning of the shift and scan it after verifying name and DOB without another nurse.


Nimrodel, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatric/Mental Health, Med-Surg, Corrections. Has 4 years experience. 80 Posts

We have had this issue also. Management says: offer them a new ID band at each med pass. Of course, sometimes that just sets the pts off (not to mention, slows med pass - there's one medication nurse for 20 pts). There is an index of pts by room number and most nurses put ID bands in that index and scan from that physical copy, and then we are vigorous about name**/DOB. Our EMR also has pictures of pts, which while not a designated identifier, is helpful sometimes. 

Our biggest issue is pts willing to wear them but then they take them right off, so possible problem solving would be to make them harder to take off.

**As for what to do when we have pts who don't know their names, whether catatonic/mute/delusional (I had a pt who was convinced she was a specific former president) and DOBs, typical practice is ID with two staff, but when you have staff who have been on that unit for the last 8 days and know all the pts by heart, that doesn't happen. 

Sadly I do not have a solution, only musings.