water pitcher mix ups in the hospital, how to avoid?

  1. I am looking for ideas to prevent water pitchers that have been refilled being returned to the wrong patients. Our pitchers/jugs are made with a lid that has a straw to drink out of and a separate place to pour water from. They are two separate pieces

    It is not unusual that when a PCT refills a pitcher they either put the wrong lid on or give the wrong pitcher back to the patient.

    We have name labels on the top and the side of the pitchers with the room numbers written on them, thus we find pitchers with two different names on them.

    My suggestion of filling one at a time and returning it to the patient did not go over well because it is not "time efficient". The problem is occurring on all floors, not just one area.

    I personally like the old style of pitcher that the patients did not drink from, the water was poured into a cup for the patient to drink. This way if an error was made at least the patient hadn't drank from the pitcher.

    Are there water pitchers available where the top and bottom pieces cannot be separated? (Any pictures would be helpful.) At least that would take care of part of the problem of getting it right.

    It is my desire to take a "leadership" role and find a way to keep this from happening. Any ideas/thoughts are appreciated.

    Thank you!
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    About Tholi

    Joined: Nov '12; Posts: 2


  3. by   FlyingScot
    Big Sharpie marker!
  4. by   Sun0408
    I have seen CNA's/techs push a cart filled with fresh ice and water from room to room for refills several times a day at fixed times. If a pt needs it outside the time frame, the nurse or tech will refill it. No mix up this way, also much cheaper than buying all new water pitchers.. Im sure with a one piece water pitcher the wrong one would still end up in the wrong room. Its obvious the PCT's are not taking their time to assure the mix up does not happen.
  5. by   loriangel14
    Twice a day a trolley is filled with clean water jugs full of ice water and new straws. Whoever is doing the water(usually aides) takes a clean one into the room and brings out the dirty one.The dirty ones go on the lower shelf of the trolley.The dirty jugs go back to the kitchen for washing. Everyone gets a clean one twice a day.They aren't labelled, they are washed so it doesn't matter if they go back to the same room.
  6. by   liveyourlife747
    Our hospital does not use jugs anymore. We use styrofoam cups and Pts get a new one each shift and when requested. I know it's wasteful, but it prevents those mix ups
  7. by   BuckyBadgerRN
    Hire people who can read the names, match the corresponding labeled tops and bottoms, and dispense them properly. It's a matter of laziness on the part of staff, IMO
  8. by   Tholi
    I hear you. Part of the issue is they sometimes have 10 patients a piece to care for (or more) and so they are not able to keep up. I think always making sure their ID bracelet matches the name on the pitcher would be a good practice, too.
  9. by   HAYNURSE
    Its policy in our hospital if it comes out of the room a clean one goes back in....
  10. by   eatmysoxRN
    At my old hospital each patient had a pitcher that was not to come out of the room. They had plastic bags that we would put ice in and add it to pitchers. It was easy and economical. You could fill up several bags and stick them on the chart cart and everyone got fresh ice with no opportunity for mix ups. We added water in the room or just let the ice melt if they didn't want any right away. My current facility passes water in styrofoam cups bid.
  11. by   monkeybug
    We aren't supposed to take the dirty pitchers/cups back in the ice room. I have worked places that used plastic bags. At the beginning of the shift we would fill up the bags with ice and load a cart with the bags and straws and sodas and then take them individually in the room. Sounds like carelessness and laziness to me--how hard is it read a name and match it up?
  12. by   classicdame
    we only use plastic bags to put the ice in. That way we can hand it to the family member in the hall who requests ice, or we can take it to the room and put in the pitcher. But the pitcher stays in the room.
  13. by   Ntheboat2
    If you use the big gallon ziplock type bags then you can actually put ice and water in them and take them to the rooms that way. I used to do it all the time and it worked fine. You can also just put ice in the bags and then fill the water in the room depending on where the sink is. I doubt if the sink is in the bathroom that the patients would appreciate that.
  14. by   Sadala
    I think I've mentioned before that I've become pretty OCD about the whole sanitation thing, but it troubles me to see a pitcher/cup come out of a room and then also to see it be taken back into the room again (even in the event that the top and bottom don't become mixed up). In other words, both aspects bother me as I just see room for spreading pathogens from space to space.

    For the same reason, I don't like to see a cart with ice go into a room, come out, then go into another room. Are there plastic cups on the unit? Because I'd far prefer to take new cheap plastic cups fulls of ice in to refill the pitchers (or clean plastic bags, either way). Then those bags or cups can go directly into the trash in the pt's room. Is this just too much craziness about sanitization on my part?