What is Code White Meaning in Hospital

A Code White in a hospital is an emergency activated when there is an imminent threat or danger to staff, patients, or visitors. It is a call to action where healthcare staff quickly respond and take immediate steps to ensure the safety of all involved. As part of this emergency response, hospital security personnel are summoned and may be armed with appropriate protection devices to handle the situation. 

What is Code White?

Code White is an emergency response code used for several reasons in hospitals. The primary reason for using Code White in the US hospital are neonatal emergencies, violent person/s, psych incidents, or emergency evacuation.

In some hospitals, code violet is used for aggressive or violent behavior or any situation that poses a threat to the safety of staff, patients, visitors, and property. Once the Code White is announced, members of the security team and medical personnel will respond to the emergency.

Types of Code White Events

1. Neonatal Emergencies: A Code White is issued for a neonatal emergency requiring immediate response and additional resources. This could be due to the sudden onset of a medical condition or if the baby’s vital signs are not within the normal range. 

2. Violent Person/s: A Code White is used when there is an imminent threat from a violent person/s in the hospital premises and requires extra security staff and resources. 

3. Psych Emergencies: A Code White is issued for any situations that involve a person in mental distress or extreme emotional upheaval. This could include suicidal tendencies, aggression, and verbal altercations. 

4. Emergency Evacuation: A Code White can also signal an emergency evacuation of the hospital premises due to imminent danger, such as natural disasters, gas leaks, etc.

How to Respond When Code White is Activated?

  • When Code White is activated, hospital staff should respond immediately and act quickly. They must be prepared to assess the situation, provide appropriate medical care or security intervention as needed, and ensure that all patients and staff are safe. It is vital to remain calm to assess the situation and take necessary action properly.
  • If the call is for a patient-related incident, medical staff must be prepared to assess the patient and provide proper medical care. If the call is for a security-related incident, hospital security staff should take over and handle the situation.
  • It is essential that all Code White calls are taken seriously and responded to quickly to ensure the safety of all involved parties.

How can Nurses Prepare for Code White Events?

  • Nurses should always be prepared for Code White events. They can do this by familiarizing themselves with hospital protocols and policies, understanding the emergency response system, participating in emergency drills and training sessions to stay up-to-date on any changes or updates, and being aware of their surroundings.
  • Nurses should also be ready to provide appropriate medical or security interventions and collaborate with other staff members to ensure a proper response.
  • Code White events can be unsettling for healthcare staff. Still, nurses should remember that their primary focus should always be on patient safety. By staying prepared and responding quickly, nurses can help ensure the safety of all those involved.

What Protocol Should be Followed During Code White Event

In a Code White event, following the protocol your hospital has established is essential. Generally, this will include:

1. Notifying security or other appropriate personnel of the incident.

2. Immediately assess the situation and determine if any individuals are in immediate danger.

3. Calling for backup if necessary and/or activating the Code White emergency response team.

4. If possible, maintain a safe distance from the person(s) involved in the incident and engage in de-escalation tactics.

5. Isolating the area to prevent any further aggression or disruption.

6. Document all of the details of what happened during the event.

 Following any additional protocol outlined by the hospital’s policy and procedures.

Remember that safety is paramount during a Code White event, so following proper protocol can help ensure everyone remains safe.


Is code white or code silver same?

No, Code White and Code Silver are two separate emergency codes. While they both involve potential threats of violence, they are meant to be used in different situations. Code White typically refers to violent behavior directed at staff or visitors, while Code Silver is intended for weapons threats.

What do the color codes mean in a hospital?

Hospital color codes usually refer to different levels of emergency responses. The most common colors are red (emergency), yellow (caution), and white (non-violent). However, some hospitals use additional colors such as blue, black, green, and silver for specific emergencies.

Final Words

Code White is a critical response protocol used in hospitals to ensure the safety of both patients and staff. It ensures that medical teams are prepared to respond quickly and appropriately to any threats or violence that may arise. Hospitals can reduce the risk of harm to all personnel involved by having this protocol in place and providing a safe environment for everyone.



Leave a Comment