Two Patient Identifiers


Hi Everyone,

I have been doing research for a scholarly paper that I'm working on regarding two patient identifiers, and I was wondering what type of measures your hospital uses. We use armband with patient name and ID number, and compare it to the order. I look forward to your reply. Thank you. Trisha.


46 Posts

Specializes in GU/surgical, Bariatrics, Endoscopy. Has 1 years experience.

We ask the patient their name and also their date of birth. We compare a sticker from their chart to their armband as we ask this.


240 Posts

Hi Trisha,

We use armband name plus DOB vs. what is on the MAR. We also ask patient for name and DOB, but some are too confused to know. Hope this helps and good luck with the paper.


2 Posts

We also use name and medical record number / Date of birth.I also agree with the above posting some elderly patients have dementia/Alzheimer's and transient confusion with medical condition like low sodium, dehydration.


678 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg.

We ask name and dob which is checked against the emar then we scan their armband. If you are on the wrong emar it will tell you and wont let you go any further.

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,841 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

Policy at one of my hospitals was 2 identifiers, but in actual practice it was not followed. I wonder how often the 2 identifier policy is really used, or if it's just a way for admin to look good, or find a reason to blame mistakes on staff. If I check an armband that's fine, but if I ask the patient anything (especially a sleepy patient, being woken with every med) it's bloody inaccurate, slow to accomplish, and I'm almost certain to addwork to my day, since an awakened/more confused patient will have more needs.

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

extra nameband on the wall at the head of the bed or on the bed, ask visitor if any...


977 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, ER, OR.

Name and DOB if awake, A&O. If not, then trust the armband is accurate and refer to armband. Armbands have been placed on the wrong pts before, but its always the staff nurses fault if a mistake is made.


165 Posts

Specializes in ED, Med-Surg, Psych, Oncology, Hospice. Has 30 years experience.

Different hospitals I've worked at have different policies. The last one we had the patient state their name and DOB and compared it to their armband. Where I work now it's very unusual to have a patient we don't know (it's a small hospital in a very small community) so checking the armband is what we do.


165 Posts

Specializes in ED, Med-Surg, Psych, Oncology, Hospice. Has 30 years experience.

I should also have mentioned we scan the patient's armband and the medication before administration.


25 Posts

Name, DOB and armband is what we're taught. However, at the nursing home where we do clinicals, the pts don't wear armbands. When passing meds, our instructor has us take the pts picture out of the mar and carry it into the room with us.

Specializes in Neuroscience/Neuro-surgery/Med-Surgical/.

Our hospital now has the patient review the armband to see that is correct, then the patient initials it. This is one identifier; that the patient can state their name.

The second identifier is either DOB or MR# that you can compare to what is in the computer.