It is so simple and so important: Identifying a patient before administering medications, taking vital signs, extracting blood, or engaging in other care procedures. But this new article by Etienne Phipps and others suggests that it just doesn't happen the way it should. The abstract says:
Findings: Although residents and nurses viewed PT ID as crucial to patient safety, they cited time pressures; confidence in their ability to informally identify patients; and a desire to deliver personal, humanistic care as reasons for not consistently verifying patient identification. Nurses expressed concern about annoying, offending, and/or alienating patients by repeatedly checking wristbands and asking date of birth, in the belief that excessive patient identification practices could undermine trust. Residents relied on nurses to check ID and preferred to greet the patient by name, a practice that they viewed as more consistent with their professional identity. Referring to patients by their room number and location was cited as a commonly used practice of PT ID and a contributor to errors in identification.
Conclusions: Nurses and residents are aware of the importance and requirements to verify PT ID, but their adherence is mitigated by a variety of factors, including assessment of necessity or risk, impact on their relationship with the patient, and practices in place in the hospital environment that protect patient privacy.
Oh, please tell me this isn't so. This is the simplest of all safety measures. These are terrible excuses for non-compliance.
I remember one day when I was CEO of the hospital, and I had to have some blood drawn. The tech, knowing who I was, used the opportunity to talk to me for ten minutes about hospital-related issues and then said, "OK, it is time to draw some blood. What is your name? What is your birth date?" I congratulated her for following the proper procedure.