Oregon hospital removes gender designation from patient wristbands

Bend, Ore.-based St. Charles Health System removed the gender designation from patient identification bracelets in October — a significant change for its transgender patients, according to the Bend Bulletin.

"It was something that everybody felt had to be on there because it was always on there," said Rebecca Scrafford, PsyD, a psychologist at St. Charles involved in recommending the change. "It's providing no benefit, but it's causing harm."

Although the ID bracelet gives providers an easy way to identify patients, hospital staff usually check a patient's name and date of birth, not their gender.

The hospital's record system did not distinguish between sex assigned at birth, legal gender and gender identity until recently. The ID bracelet would show the patient's legal name and sex assigned at birth.

"For a lot of those patients, that didn't match, and that was distressing for our patients," Dr. Scrafford said. "This is one little baby step in providing affirming care that is probably the first visible sign of many efforts that are underway at St. Charles and communitywide."

The hospital also trained staff on when and how to ask patients about gender identity and how to record that information on their record.

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