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Archive July 2020 XXI, No. 7

Ideas That Work: Visual Alert

Wristbands Identify Patients With Vaginal Packing

COLORFUL CUE Julie McDonald, RN, CNOR, helped design the bright orange wristbands with the word "packing" printed on them.

After gynecological procedures such as hysterectomies, surgeons place vaginal packing to stop excessive bleeding. But how are physicians and even patients to know that the packing is in place during follow-up care? This issue must be addressed because vaginal packing that remains inside the body can lead to sepsis and infection. We decided to use bright orange wristbands with the word "packing" printed on them to alert providers and patients that packing has been used. A single band is applied to the patient for each packing that's placed, and it remains in place until the packing is removed per physicians' orders. The wristbands are easy to make with a label maker or permanent marker. Since rolling out the project in 2017, we've had no incidences of packing inadvertently left in place.

Julie McDonald, RN, CNOR
Silver Cross Hospital
New Lenox, Ill.

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