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Color-Coded Wristbands Enhance Patient Safety


Tillamook County General Hospital has joined more than twenty Oregon hospitals and health systems and several western states in adopting a standardized system of color-coded “alert” wristbands to increase the safety of patients.

The four colors are red, yellow, purple, and pink, and the meaning for each band is also imprinted on the wristband itself.

  • red band alerts staff that the patient has an allergy.
  • yellow band means the patient needs to be closely monitored or they may fall.
  • purple band indicates “do not resuscitate,” according to the patient’s end-of-life wish.
  • pink band cautions that the patient’s extremity, such as an arm or leg, should be handled with extreme care.

These alert wristbands are used to quickly communicate a certain health care status or an “alert” that a patient may have. This is done so every staff member can provide the best care possible, even if they do not know the patient. And because these colored bands are being used throughout Oregon, the wristbands will be left in place on patients who are being transferred to higher level of care hospitals in the Portland area so that staff there will immediately be alerted to these special conditions.

Our hospital is proud to be a part of this patient safety system, making healthcare safer and better for patients and their families.