Questions and Answers on Implementing Color-Coded Alert System Standardization in Virginia

This page provides questions and answers on facility implementation of color-coded alert system standardization in Virginia. Please note the answers are specific to Virginia.

Updated March 19, 2009

Q: Durable DNR bands currently are yellow. Any discussion on changing the color of these bands or how this standardization affects the Durable DNR bands?

A: The state regulations governing Durable Do Not Rescusitate orders authorizes “the use of Alternate Durable DNR jewelry in conjunction with the issuance of Durable DNR forms. These Alternative Durable DNR jewelry items shall be uniquely designed and uniquely identifiable bracelets and necklaces that are available only from a vendor approved by the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Emergency Medical Services.”

Except for this jewelry, the regulations do not authorize use of any wristband or other alternative indicator of the issuance of a DDNR order, so health care facilities should not use them. The Board of Health is currently in the process of revising the DDNR regulations, so need for further clarification can be considered.

Q: For other alerts, such as latex allergy, what color should we use to avoid having to change in the future as more alerts become standardized?

A: For now, the only alerts that Virginia has standardized are allergy (red); fall risk (yellow)and DNR (purple). As other alerts are added to Virginia’s standardization, we will follow the national trend of alerts and their associated colors. If a Virginia facility chooses to identify other alerts in this current standardization, they will have to make the decision on which color to use for that specific alert. However, if the state standardizes that alert with another color, the facility may have to change to the state approved color.

Other alerts and their associated colors across the nation: (as of March 19, 2009)

Latex allergy: green
Limb alert: pink
Blood: no uniformity
Special precautions: not addressed