Hospital emergency codes are used to quickly alert staff that immediate attention is needed, but recent research has shown that many health care workers are unable to accurately identify them. .
To learn more, researchers looked at five medical facilities in Georgia. The survey included 304 employees and 14 emergency codes. On average, the participant correctly identified the emergency code 44% of the time. The best known codes were those for fire, child abduction and cardiac arrest.
Co-author Morgan Taylor said in a University of Georgia news release, “Our findings suggest that most employees were unaware of the implications and actions of these notices, leading to an immediate response to such incidents.” She is a doctoral student in the university’s public health department.
Many of the participants reported that the code was only introduced during orientation and little training was provided.
“Codes are often confused because they are not used or practiced regularly. It is reasonable to assume that staff will retain knowledge gained during orientation, disaster simulations, or annual on-duty reminders. It’s not a target,” said lead scientist Curt. Harris, Director of UGA’s Disaster Management Research Institute, said:
“It would be unreasonable to assume that just because the meaning of the color code is on the back of the badge, it will continue to respond appropriately and quickly,” he said in a release.
Not all hospitals use color codes, but some use separate codes for each type of emergency.
“Code Blue” is often used when a patient stops breathing or the heart stops beating unexpectedly and resuscitation is required. However, research shows that there is no universal standard for codes.
While moving from color-coding to plain language may reduce employee confusion and training time, the employees in this study were more likely to cause extreme panic and fear among visitors and patients. I was worried about something.
These concerns contradict current research, Taylor said.
“We know that plain language communication reduces panic and confusion for bystanders,” she said. “Our study highlights the continuing need for effective training and education to help translate this research into practice.”
The survey results recently International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
For more information:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides tips for keeping patients safe in the hospital environment.
Curt Harris et al., Breaking the Code: Considering for Effects for Effectsly Dissemisating Mass Notifications in Healthcare Settings, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2022). DOI: 10.3390/ijerph191811802
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