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Ideas That Work: Use Code Words to Caution Staff
Publish Date: November 17, 2021   |  Tags:   Ideas That Work Patient Safety Staff Safety
Code Words
WORD OF MOUTH A circle around "STAR PT" on surgical documents and hand-off forms allows staff to communicate about bloodborne pathogens without embarrassing the patient or violating their privacy.   |   Eye 35 ASC

Coming up with a discreet way to identify patients who have bloodborne pathogens such as HIV or hepatitis B — infectious diseases that pose risks to staff members — simultaneously maintains patient dignity and preserves staff safety. “When we’re dealing with a known condition, we alert our staff so they can double-glove or take additional precautions,” says Ashlea Wyant, quality assessment performance improvement nurse at Eye 35 ASC in Schertz, Texas. “We simply use the term ‘star’ when discussing the case. Patients aren’t aware of what it means, so they don’t feel stigmatized by hearing it.”

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