What will happen in the case of an emergency? Will my wishes be followed? As we age, these become natural concerns. Those who we first meet in crisis circumstances—emergency medical technicians (EMT), paramedics, emergency room doctors or nurses—are trying to save a life. They may use CPR, ventilators, or a number of other methods. But what about what you want? How can you possibly let them know if you are unconscious or unable to speak?
An emergency can occur anywhere at any time. It is imperative that everyone—especially those with some sort of health condition—have a plan to ensure that their wishes are being followed and health information is being conveyed to emergency personnel before treatment.
A Recommended Solution
While there is no perfect answer at this time, a good solution is a medical ID bracelet. All first-response personnel are trained to look at your wrist for a medical bracelet upon arrival. Software comes installed on the bracelet, which acts like a memory chip for your medical information. When a medical professional sees a bracelet, he or she can simply plug it into their computer and have all of your necessary health information. If you have something that they need to know about, like a pacemaker, this can be lifesaving information.
A great deal of your medical history can be stored on a medical ID bracelet:
- Basic Information
- Diseases and Conditions
- Family History
- Social History (It is important to be honest about smoking and drinking)
- Emergency Contacts
- Medical Contacts
- Preferred Hospital
- Assistive Devices
- Surgeries and Procedures
- Living Will or Directives
- CT or Other Scans
Users are able to edit their information via computer. You can also take the bracelet with you during physician visits or time with your care coordinator. Keep in mind that the information on your bracelet is not considered secure. It can be plugged into any computer, so be sure not to include sensitive information, such as your social security number or birthdate. Also, while the bracelet is water-resistant and you can shower with it on, you cannot bathe or swim with it.
Photo courtesy of Walgreens