Ask Our Nurses
09 January 2020 MedicAlert

We know that deciding what to have engraved on to your MedicAlert ID jewellery can be challenging if you have multiple conditions or if you're not sure what would be most helpful in an emergency. Our team of Registered Nurses are here to provide guidance on the best solution for you. 

Caroline loves talking to both new and existing MedicAlert members and, in the first edition of our new 'Ask Our Nurses' blogs, she tackles the most regular questions she hears about jewellery engraving:


How do I decide what to have engraved on my jewellery?

A good starting point is to ask yourself what key medical information would be the most important to emergency personnel if you were unable to communicate in an emergency. Remember that you could find yourself in an emergency situation which may be totally unrelated to your medical conditions, so think about what may affect your airways, breathing or circulation first, perhaps.

Try not to get too concerned about the sequence on your disc, as the information will be read and grasped in seconds. We try to use similar and standard medical formats on both your jewellery and within your electronic medical records, so there is consistency among our members information, which makes it easier for emergency personnel accessing your record.

One of MedicAlert’s Registered Nurses will review your requested text for your jewellery when you order. They ensure that the information is succinct, clear, accurate using British or International English and in sentence case for readability. If the information is unclear or there are any discrepancies, or they feel like you may want to prioritise difference information, they may contact you.

Disc Engraving Annotated

I have a DNACPR Order – what should I have engraved?

We have a lot of members who would like it known that they have a CPR decision form (documents which outline how a person wants to be treated if their heart were to stop).

We can engrave that you have such a document on to your MedicAlert jewellery. The CPR decision form must be immediately available if it is needed in an emergency, so you must make sure the document is saved to your record and kept up-to-date if necessary.

We would still recommend that you keep the documents in a prominent place in your home and remember to take it with you when you go out.


Should I include my name/ICE details?

We don’t recommend adding names and numbers to your jewellery engraving. This is to avoid any confusion about which number should be called in an emergency in order to access your record.

Your disc is already engraved, on the reverse, with our emergency helpline number at the top and your unique membership number at the bottom. In an emergency, those caring for you can quote your membership number when calling our helpline to access your record including any contact details of those you may want to be reached.


I have a lot of medical conditions; can I use abbreviations on the disc?

It is very important that your information is easily understood so we wouldn’t generally recommend using abbreviations, especially unconventional or unfamiliar abbreviations which could lead to confusion and delayed or incorrect treatment.

However, if you do choose to use abbreviations, we recommend using medically approved British English abbreviations and preferably that they don’t run one after another. If you would like any guidance on these, please get in touch and one of our Registered Nurses will be happy to advise you further.

You could also use a catch all phrase, such as ‘complex medical needs/condition/history’ or ‘multiple health care needs’ to prompt an emergency or healthcare professional to call our emergency helpline for more information.


Caroline


I have a lot of allergies/medication, how can I fit them all on a disc?

Paramedics may prescribe life-saving medicine in an emergency, so it’s useful to know what medication you’re taking and your allergy status.


Allergies

If you have a lot of allergies, you can:

  • Try and group them, for example ‘Food, Drug, Insect Bites & Stings, Household Chemicals’.
  • Start with the most severe and then state ‘& Others’, for example ‘Ibuprofen, Penicillin & Others’.
  • Simply state ‘Multiple Allergies’.
  • Use a combination of the above, such as ‘Multiple Food & Drug Allergies’

Remember we will still have your complete list of allergies on your record which can be accessed in an emergency, but if you want some guidance on the best solution for you and what may be the best fit for your preferred jewellery, we’re here to help you.


Medications

Remember that your current list of medication, including dosage and frequency, can be obtained from your GP who may be listed in your MedicAlert record. Unless a particular medication is vital in an emergency – either because it is not safe to take in conjunction with other medication, or it’s particularly dangerous for you not to take it – we wouldn’t recommend it is added to your MedicAlert jewellery engraving. This is to ensure that your jewellery does not become out-of-date if your medications were to change.

Our Registered Nurses are available if you are not sure whether a medication you take should be included in the engraving.

For those medications you do need to list, you could:

  • Try and group your medications for example ‘On Steroids, Analgesia’.
  • List the most important ones to you and then state ‘& Others’.

You may also want to include whether you carry any emergency medication with you, such as Hydrocortisone, EpiPens, inhalers or antihistamines.

Remember you can update your record, as often as required, by logging on online or by calling us. This means that we will still have your complete list of medication which can then be accessed in an emergency.


If you would like to talk to one of MedicAlert’s Registered Nurses, get in touch today!


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