CODES IN A HOSPITAL
Kala Reddy Gandra
Hospital emergency codes are used in hospitals worldwide to
alert staff to various emergencies. The use of codes is intended to
convey essential information quickly and with minimal
misunderstanding to staff, while preventing stress and panic among
visitors to the hospital. These codes may be posted on placards
throughout the hospital, or printed on employee identification
badges for ready reference.
Back of a hospital ID badge showing disaster codes.
Hospital emergency codes may denote different events at different
hospitals, including those in the same community. Because many
physicians work at more than one facility, this may lead to
confusion in emergencies, so uniform systems have been proposed.
EMERGENCY CODE AND PREPARDNESS
What Is An Emergency Code?
An emergency code is a notification of an event that
requires immediate action.
Preparing for the Unexpected
Emergencies can strike anywhere and at any time. In
the spirit of proactivity we encourage you to have
your own emergency preparedness plan.
WHAT IS CHANGING WITH
Emergency codes are being changed to incorporate
use of “plain-language.”
Plain-language typically uses a phrase to identify the
type of emergency, the code itself, and the location of
Example 1: “Security alert, missing person, 3rd floor east
Example 2: “Facility alert, fire alarm, 1st floor cafeteria.”
THE EMERGENCY CODES
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
2. Types of codes
People understand the information received without further
People know what actions are required based on the information
All emergency responders within the hospital need to know
clearly and quickly what the emergency is, where the emergency
is, and how they should respond to effectively coordinate
2. MEDICAL ALERT CODES
Influx of Patients/Mass Causality Incident
Medical emergency (e.g., cardiac arrest, rapid
3. SECURITY ALERT CODES
4. FACILITY ALERT CODES
Hazardous spill, etc.
TYPES OF CODES
1. Code Blue : Cardiac arrest
2. Code Red : External disaster
3. Code Brown : Internal disaster
4. Code Pink : Baby disaster
5. Code Grey : Security threats / workplace violence
6. Code Orange : Medical emergency team(MET)
Codes shall be announced thrice over the PA system and
shall be repeated every 30 seconds for 2 minutes.
Mock drills at least every 6 months in all shifts and done
areas specific especially in vulnerable areas like OT, ICU’ S,
1. CODE BLUE
"Code Blue" is generally used to indicate a patient requiring
resuscitation or in need of immediate medical attention, most often as
the result of a respiratory arrest or cardiac arrest. When called
overhead, the page takes the form of "Code Blue, (floor), (room)" to
alert the resuscitation team where to respond. Every hospital, as a part
of its disaster plans, sets a policy to determine which units provide
personnel for code coverage.
2. CODE RED
An external disaster is an event which has taken out side
the hospital .
External disaster is declared when the expected
patient inflow is more than emergency department bad
capacity. It is only declared by the C.E.O of the hospital
or emergency department head .
An internal disaster is an event that may impair the
operations of the hospital and disrupt normal patient
4. CODE PINK
BABY DISASTER :
child missing from the hospital /sent with wrong
parent or any child related disaster.
5. CODE GREY
NEED FOR SECURITY PERSONNEL :
Applies to any incident where hospital security personnel
are needed. This may include, but not be limited to: a
violent/combative person; a missing person; criminal
activity or other situations where enhanced security is
Chest pain accompanied by sweating, nausea, vomiting, shortness of
breath, radiating pain that moves to the arm or neck, dizziness, or
feeling that your heart is beating irregularly or too fast.
Severe bleeding that doesn't stop after 15 minutes of direct pressure.
HOW IS AN EMERGENCY CODE CALLED?
The code should be called in a three-part statement
Specific code description
Location of emergency
Example: “Medical alert, cardiac arrest,
Additional information or instructions can be
provided if known---for example, the description
of a missing person.
How do I respond to the new emergency codes?
Your response to the emergency code does not
change. The only change is the language used to
announce the emergency situation.
Follow the hospital’s policy and procedure for the
specific emergency situation.