When providing first aid, it is essential that you have necessary information about the victim. Medical identification devices are invaluable sources of information. They allow quick, concise medical health information about the victim.
Usually, people with certain medical conditions or using certain medications are recommended to carry or wear a form of medical identification, usually bracelet, wrist band or necklace.
Disclaimer: the details posted in this blog on medical identification devices is for learning purposes only. To learn how to find and use the information on identification devices effectively enrol in first aid and CPR training programs.
What Medical Identification Devices Contain?
These medical-alert devices contain the person’s identity, relevant medical condition, allergies, medications used, medical contact information and other specialized information such as implanted medical devices and medical medications.
People with certain medical conditions are often recommended to wear medical IDs to alert medical professionals in case of an emergency. Some of the most common reasons to wear medical identification include:
- Food, insect or drug allergies
- Heart conditions (atrial fibrillation, angina, arrhythmias, pacemakers)
- Pulmonary conditions (COPD/Asthma)
- Diabetes, blood disorders
- Kidney failure
- Use of blood thinners or anticoagulants (Warfarin/Coumadin)
- Memory impairment/Alzheimer’s
- Epilepsy/ seizure disorders
- Stroke risk
- Rare diseases
- Surgery, cancer and transplant patients
- Hearing, sight or mentally impaired
- Clinical trial participants
- Children with special needs
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Tourette syndrome
- Use of multiple medications
Medical IDs may also contain details about the person’s blood type, emergency contact information and online health records.
In a study conducted among emergency medical professionals, including first aiders and paramedics, it showed that more than 95% of emergency personnel look for a medical identification when providing care. More than 75% looked for medical ID at initial assessment of patient. Majority of emergency personnel, about 95%, are more likely to check for a medical ID bracelet followed by necklace at 68%.
People are advised to always wear their medical ID. These identification devices increase the chance of providing appropriate first aid and positive outcome. As a first aider, you should try to look not just for the conventional medical ID but also other possible sources of information. Some people bring with them medical ID card in their pocket. However, you should not delay providing treatment just to look for medical identification.
Importance of Medical Identification Devices
In most emergency situations, the victim is unable to communicate with the first aider. A medical ID necklace or bracelet often speaks for the person. As such, medical IDs are very important during first aid situations.
- Symptoms of common medical conditions can be easily misdiagnosed.
- Prompt, accurate diagnosis is critical for positive outcome.
- Brief information about important medical facts on the medical ID ensures timely and proper medical care.
- Use of medical IDs prevents medical errors that often lead to fatal consequences.
Medical identification devices do not only safeguard people during emergencies, they also eliminate unnecessary hospital trips or admission and protect people against minor, preventable medical emergencies. Medical ID’s should guide first aiders in providing initial care.