It’s understood that misidentifying newborns can lead to very serious errors, such as, administering the wrong blood products or even sending the wrong infant to surgery. In an effort to prevent newborn identification errors, The Joint Commission recently issued a new requirement that goes into effect January 1, 2019, requiring a distinct naming convention for newborn identification. The new element of performance (EP) will apply to all Joint Commission-accredited hospitals that provide labor and delivery services.
Newborns are a vulnerable patient population because they often appear similar and are unable to speak. The Joint Commission determined there was a need for improved newborn identification practices in the obstetric unit, after extensive research and discussions with leaders in the field.
National Patient Safety Goal
NPSG.01.01.01 Use at least two patient identifiers when providing care, treatment, and services.
NPSG.01.01.01 EP3: For newborn patients: Use distinct methods of identification for newborn patients.
Note: Examples of methods to prevent misidentification may include the following:
– Distinct naming systems could include using the mother’s first and last names and the newborn’s gender (for example: “Smith, Judy Girl” or “Smith, Judy Girl A” and “Smith, Judy Girl B” for multiples).
– Standardized practices for identification banding (for example, two body-site identification and barcoding).
– Establish communication tools among staff (for example, visually alerting staff with signage noting newborns with similar names).
For more information, visit www.jointcommission.org or https://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/18/R3_17_Newborn_identification_6_22_18_FINAL.pdf
For more information about mother and infant identification wristbands and L&D products, visit www.pdchealthcare.com/newborn.