We don’t really care what your name is*

Code 2 for sick person.

An elderly woman with dementia is bed-bound, unable to provide information. Her adult daughter called because she had a fever.

“What’s her first name?”


“Hi Alicia, how are you doing?”

She turns her head but doesn’t say anything.

Some time later I’m inspecting her medications. The bottles don’t say “Alicia.” They say “Lydia.”

“Ma’am, what did you say your mother’s name was?”

“Her name? It’s Lydia.”


“So who’s Alicia?”

“I’m Alicia.”

“I see. I wasn’t asking for your name, you know…”

*At least not until someone needs to contact next-of-kin

3 thoughts on “We don’t really care what your name is*”

  1. A similar situation would be when you ask the patient their name, and later you find out that it’s only their nickname or middle name. For some reason they don’t tell us their full name but they will tell the RN at the hospital.

  2. This happens to me every time I go to a certain nursing home. Every time, I ask the nurse for the patient’s name, and the nurse gives me her own name. I’ve ended up calling Edna “Sadie” and Patrick “Cassie”. And, yes, I thought Cassie was a weird name for an old man, but I don’t judge.

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