Patient identification

Correctly identifying the patient—both during collection of the pretransfusion sample and before starting the transfusion—is vital in avoiding ‘wrong blood’ episodes.

Always check the identity of the patient:

In emergency situations, a process should be in place for cases where a patient is unable to be identified.

Recommended procedure

  • Hospitals must have a written policy on the requirements for patient identification.
  • Check and confirm the patient's identity by asking the patient (if conscious and rational) to state and spell his/her surname, given name(s) and date of birth; and, check the wrist band (identity label)

    • All patients must have a patient identification number and wear an identification wrist band including this number.

  • Where the patient’s identity is not known or cannot be accurately confirmed, an alternative reliable method of identification should be substituted and reliably linked to the patient’s name once this becomes available.

    • Notice of the updated identification must be provided to the transfusion laboratory and other relevant departments as soon as possible.