This data element should be recorded for all clients.
Given name(s) should be recorded in the format preferred by the person. The format should be the same as that indicated by the person (eg written on a form) or in the same format as that printed on an identification card, such as Medicare card, to ensure consistent collection of name data.
It is acknowledged that some people use more than one given name (e.g. formal name, birth name, nickname or shortened name, or tribal name) depending on the circumstances. A person is able to change his or her name by usage in all States and Territories of Australia with the exception of Western Australia, where a person may change his or her name under the Change of Name Act.
A person should generally be registered using their preferred name as it is more likely to be used in common usage and on subsequent visits to the health care establishment. The person's preferred name may in fact be their Medicare card name. The Person name type data element (see Comments) can be used to distinguish between the different types of names that may be used by the person.
The following format may assist with data collection:
What is the given name you would like to be known by? _______________________
Are you known by any other given names that you would like recorded?
If so, what are they? _____________________________________________________________
Please indicate the 'type' of given name that is to be recorded:
(a) Medicare card name (if different to preferred name).
(b) Alias (any other name that you are known by).
Whenever a person informs the establishment of a change of given name (e.g. prefers to be know by their middle name), the former name should be recorded according to the appropriate Person name type. Do not delete or overwrite a previous given name, e.g. 'Mary Georgina Smith' informs the agency or establishment that she prefers to be known as 'Georgina'. Record 'Georgina' as her preferred Given name and record 'Mary' as the Medicare card Given name. Another example - The establishment is informed that 'Baby of Louise Jones' has been named 'Mary Jones'. Retain 'Baby of Louise' as the newborn name and also record 'Mary' as the preferred Given name.
Registering an unidentified person:
If the person's given name is not known record 'Unknown' in the Given name field and use alias name type. When the person's name becomes known, add the actual name as preferred Person name type (or other as appropriate). Do not delete or overwrite the alias name of 'Unknown'.
Use of first initial:
If the person's given name is not known, but the first letter (initial) of the given name is known, record the first letter in the (preferred) Given name field. Do not record a full stop following the initial.
Persons with only one name:
Some people do not have a family name and a given name: they have only one name by which they are known. If the person has only one name, record it in the Family name field and leave the Given name blank.
Record complete information:
All of the person's given names should be recorded.
Shortened or alternate first given name:
If the person uses a shortened version or an alternate version of their first given name, record their preferred name, the actual name as their Medicare card name and any alternative versions as Alias names as appropriate.
Example - The person's given name is Jennifer but she prefers to be called Jenny. Record 'Jenny' as the preferred Given name and 'Jennifer' as her Medicare card name.
Example - The person's given name is 'Giovanni' but he prefers to be called 'John'. Record 'John' as the preferred Given name and 'Giovanni' as the Medicare card name.
If special characters form part of the given names they shall be included, e.g. Hyphenated names shall be entered with the hyphen.
hyphen e.g. Anne Maree, Mary Jane
Do not leave a space before or after the hyphen, i.e. between last letter of 'Anne' and the hyphen, nor a space between the hyphen and the first letter of 'Maree'.
spaces e.g. Jean Claude Marcel Moreaux
If the person has recorded a given name as more than one word, displaying spaces in between the words (e.g. Jean Claude), record their given names in data collection systems in the same way (i.e. Jean Claude is one given name and Marcel is another given name).
Names not for continued use:
For cultural reasons, a person such as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander may advise that they are no longer using the given name they previously used and are now using an alternative current name. Record their current name as their preferred given name and record their previously used name as an alias name (with a Name conditional use flag of 'not for continued use').
If a person identifies their first name as being a composite word, both parts should be recorded under the first Given Name (rather than the first and second Given Name).
e.g. 'Anne Marie Walker' notes her preferred Given Name to be 'Anne Marie', then 'Anne Marie' is recoded as (first) Given Name, and (second) Given Name is left blank.
Registering an unnamed newborn baby:
An unnamed (newborn) baby is to be registered using the mother's given name in conjunction with the prefix 'Baby of'. For example, if the baby's mother's given name is Fiona, then record 'Baby of Fiona' in the (preferred) Given name field for the baby. This name is recorded under the newborn Person name type. If a name is subsequently given, record the new name as the preferred Given name and retain the newborn name.
Registering unnamed multiple births:
An unnamed (newborn) baby from a multiple birth should use their mother's given name plus a reference to the multiple birth. For example, if the baby's mother's given name is 'Fiona' and a set of twins is to be registered, then record 'Twin 1 of Fiona' in the Given name field for the first born baby, and 'Twin 2 of Fiona' in the Given name field of the second born baby. Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3 ...) are used, not Roman numerals (I, II, III ...).
In the case of triplets or other multiple births the same logic applies. The following terms should be use for recording multiple births:
- Twin Use Twin i.e. Twin 1 of Fiona
- Triplet Use Trip i.e. Trip 1 of Fiona
- Quadruplet Use Quad i.e. Quad 1 of Fiona
- Quintuplet Use Quin i.e. Quin 1 of Fiona
- Sextuplet Use Sext i.e. Sext 1 of Fiona
- Septuplet Use Sept i.e. Sept 1 of Fiona
These names should be recorded under the newborn Person name type. When the babies are named, the actual names should be recorded as the preferred name. The newborn name is retained.
Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander names not for continued use:
For cultural reasons, an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander may advise an establishment that they are no longer using the given name that they had previously registered and are now using an alternative current name. Record their current name as the preferred Given name and record their previously recorded given name as an alias name. Such an alias name should be associated with a Name continued use flag of 'not for continued use'.
The Centrelink Naming Systems for Ethnic Groups publication provides the correct coding for ethnic names. Refer to Appendix A of Ethnic Names Condensed Guide for summary information.
Misspelled given names:
If the person's given name has been misspelled in error, update the Given name field with the correct spelling and record the misspelled given name as an alias name. Recording misspelled names is important for filing documents that may be issued with previous versions of the client's name. Discretion should be used regarding the degree of recording that is maintained.