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John and Jane Doe

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by Breathing16 Breathing16 (New) New

I'm curious how John & Jane Doe's are treated in healthcare facilities? Specifically, are there any general do's & don'ts that relate to unidentified patients that I need to know about when providing treatment in these situations? How is care approached differently for amnesia patients than with unconscious patients? Thank you.

Ie. Do we document more on monitoring their reactions to medication administrations (allergies)? Do we contact law enforcement to coordinate them with missing persons listings? Do we fingerprint or photograph their face into a chart? How do we perform "5 Rights?" etc. Thank you.

JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

You treat them just like anyone else whose history is unknown. Any one who is unable to give a name usually came in by EMS, with a PD escort, so notifying anyone is not applicable, they are unconscious. No we do not fingerprint. They get an ID band with a specific hospital number, so you can identify them for your 5 rights that way, usually the DOB is January of 1900 or something.

Is this for school? Your hospital should have a policy in place that you can look at.

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

I'm curious how John & Jane Doe's are treated in healthcare facilities? Specifically, are there any general do's & don'ts that relate to unidentified patients that I need to know about when providing treatment in these situations? How is care approached differently for amnesia patients than with unconscious patients? Thank you.

Ie. Do we document more on monitoring their reactions to medication administrations (allergies)? Do we contact law enforcement to coordinate them with missing persons listings? Do we fingerprint or photograph their face into a chart? How do we perform "5 Rights?" etc. Thank you.

I've only had one and she was conscious ...she just had no idea who she was or how she got picked up by an ambulance and taken to the hospital. I spent a lot time talking to her and playing detective ...asking her if she remembered the name of any streets and things of that nature. I was pretty sure she was from a group home or SNF because she was "kept" way above her own ability. I put key words into google and started calling group homes and SNFs in the area until I found one who was missing her.

The police were called only after we discovered that she had been reported as a missing person.

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

My unit gets quite a few unID'ed -- lots of times they were assaulted, hit by vehicles, fell and injured their heads, etc, with no ID on them. The police are involved before the pt even comes to the ICU, and obviously they are the ones who do the detective work.

They are issued an unID'ed pt number which functions as their name. Their ID band, Epic chart, pharmacy labels, blood-related things like the type and screen wristband/the issued units/lab tubes, everything, has their name listed as that pt number.

If the pt has familial or close social ties, lots of times the family has been frantically calling hospitals, hoping to find their loved one.

When those calls get transferred to my unit, I will ask the family about identifying physical characteristics. For example, in addition to does the pt have any tattoos, birth marks, piercings. The last time I got this call, the frantic sister was able to accurately describe his tattoos. I asked the intubated pt if his name was the name the sister gave, to which he nodded "yes."

Once we have an ID, the admissions office changes his name in the system from the number to his real name.