St. John's Mercy Medical Centre

A leader in maternity services uses a specialize infant identification solution

Since opening its doors more than 125 years ago, St. John's Mercy Medical Centre has been committed to compassionately caring for women and children using quality resources. From staffing top physicians and nurses to using the most advanced equipment and materials, St. John's Mercy Medical Centre has firmly established their reputation in the St. Louis area, welcoming more than 7,200 babies each year, 1,200 of whom are Neonatal ICU admissions.

The St. John's Mercy Medical Centre NICU is a level 3 care facility that looks after premature (less than 34 weeks) and full term infants (40 weeks). Many of these infants have or may develop severe or potentially life threatening conditions during the first few days of life. Naturally, proper care for these patients depends upon every detail—from the specialised equipment used to nurture them back to health to the identification applied to address their unique needs.

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The Story

The Challenge

Birthing centres like St. John's Mercy often have 60-90 babies at one time and up to 20 admissions per day. The NICU can see as many as 80 of those babies simultaneously. Even though care requirements for premature babies are unique, NICU babies received the same wristband IDs as full-term babies.

The NICU cares for various sized infants, from less than 500 grams to more than 10 pounds. The standard wristband was too large for many of the micro-preemies and too small for the many of larger babies. Of course, as the premature NICU patients grew, their wristbands did not.

Babies in the NICU can stay anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months. During medical procedures on both short-term and long-term NICU babies, nurses often needed to remove or move the band. As a result, maternity staff had to cut off the fixed-sized wristbands and replace them numerous times, creating unnecessary waste and manual steps.

In addition, NICU babies often have skin integrity and sensitivity issues. While adequate against the skin of full term babies, the band was not well suited on the tiny NICU patients. NICU babies are often swaddled to replicate the mother's womb-like feel. With traditional wristbands, there was no optimal way to place identification on a swaddled NICU baby and access the identification information without unwrapping the blanket—and waking the baby.

St. John's Mercy Medical Centre NICU put forth a plan to find an identification solution that supported NICU initiatives to improve care while facilitating medication administration and information management. The ultimate solution needed to address the special, and often critical, requirements of infant patients, both premature and full-term.

The Solution

After careful consideration, St. John's Mercy Medical Centre NICU selected LaserBand 2 infant wristbands, Comfy Cuff and Swaddle Band. Upon birth, all NICU babies are banded using a combination of the products to address the specialised care and safety initiatives of this patient population.

To help reduce material costs and waste, St. John's Mercy chose the adjustable and reusable LaserBand 2 ID tag/wristband. It provides protected NICU patient information that can last up to two months before needing replacement. The wristband comes in in a laser-printable form with two self-laminating baby wristbands, two self-laminating baby tags, and twenty labels

The second part of the LaserBand 2 solution is the adjustable and flexible ComfyCuff wristband, which addresses all sizes and growth fluctuations of NICU babies. Baby ComfyCuff is used with LaserBand 2 self- laminating baby ID tags, providing both identification and comfort for both newborns and NICU babies. The Swaddle Band, when used with the ComfyCuff and the LaserBand 2 ID tag, enables caregivers to scan the ID tag while keeping the baby swaddled.


St. John's Mercy Medical Centre NICU deployed the LaserBand 2 solution and trained maternity ward staff how to use the new solution. By providing an easily scannable wristband, LaserBand 2 helped close the patient information gap through seamless integration with Bridge Medication Administration and the hospital's financial software.

Most important, the new solution improved patient care and safety with measurable identification enhancement. The number of patients actually wearing ID bands increased, while the actual number of ID bands used during a hospital stay decreased due the longer wristband life. In addition, LaserBand 2 delivered flexible and adaptable ID band features that corresponded with the unique demands of the infant environment.

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