While researching ‘medical conditions’ along with the benefits and otherwise of various treatments I have recently become familiar with, the topic of Medical Alert ‘Jewellery’ has come up a number of times.
These come in various forms including bracelets, wrist bands, arm bands, key rings, pendants to name just some. Additionally, cards, phone apps, etc - which seem likely to be less useful if not ‘attached’ to oneself. There are of course other options, but I’m leaving the forehead tattoo as a last resort …
Never having the need, I’ve never paid much attention to them other than being aware that people wore them who suffered serious conditions and/or to alert first responders to various potentially life threatening situations that might ensue from receiving treatment inappropriate to their particular condition - medical devices such as pacemakers, allergies to medication, medication that affects injury severity or treatment options, etc.
More recently I was interested to hear the reaction and ‘advice’ of health care professionals with regard to these items, which in summary and to generalise was that they don’t really recommend/suggest them these days, but they are not a bad idea and would do no harm to use. Note: none of the people I’ve talked to so far are first responders, but they do range from ED through to post-hospital care.
It seems possible if not likely that my experience is typical ‘for here’, but that different training, views/opinions and emphasis may well exist in other jurisdictions.
There are various organisations offering products and services in this space. Probably one of the better known is the ‘Medic Alert Foundation’, but there are many others, not surprisingly some who seem ‘more commercial’ in nature.
Criticism of some forms of Medical Alert Jewellery is also not too hard to find either. While a little dated, the article referenced at the end of this post by the Brisbane Times being one example.
Another consideration is how the relatively new ‘My Health Record’ might be used by first responders(?) It occurred to me that this might sway the decision of some people to engage the service if first responders are plugged into it in a useful way. There’s a few ‘ifs’ there of course …
I couldn’t find a specific review online in CHOICE on this topic, so especially given health is a topic of interest at the moment, it seems like a product offering in need of a test or at the very least a buyers guide. Knowing the effectiveness, value or otherwise of these products and their associated services especially broken down by jurisdiction and how/if they are linked to training of first responders could be very useful.
If I’ve missed it, I’d be keen to see the reference. I’m also keen to hear any and all experiences and opinions people might have from any perspective of use - wearer, responder, etc.
It seems to me that Medical Alert Jewellery ‘can’t hurt’ if done correctly, but like many things, what devil is in the detail?
Disclosure: I have not had a connection with anything in or allied with the healthcare industry other than being a consumer for well over a decade.