“Codes are often confusing because we do not use or practice them regularly. It is unreasonable to assume that staff will retain the knowledge they receive during orientation, disaster simulations, or once-a-year in-service reminders,” Curt Harris, director of the Institute for Disaster Management and lead investigator of the study, told UGA Today. “It is also unreasonable to assume that just because the meaning of the color code is on the back of their badges, an appropriate and prompt response will ensue.”
The study points to research suggesting a switch from color codes to plain language could reduce confusion and cut down on training. Piedmont Healthcare’s hospitals switched to plain language emergency announcements in 2019.
“We know plain language communications reduce bystander panic and confusion. Our study highlights the continued need for effective training and education that helps translate this research into practice,” Taylor said.
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