We all hope we’ll never need EMTs to attend us, but unfortunately, that simply can’t be guaranteed. Anyone can need medical help at any age, but it’s natural to worry a little more as we age. For seniors with a long term medical condition or something like a medication allergy, there’s always the risk that EMTs will administer incorrect or even harmful treatment.
That’s where a medical ID bracelet can help. A medical ID bracelet alerts EMTs to the fact that you have a medical condition, so they can take that into account when treating you. An ID bracelet also helps other medical professionals involved in your treatment, such as doctors.
Let’s take a closer look at medical ID bracelets and some of the choices on the market today.
What Is A Medical ID Bracelet?
A medical ID bracelet looks like any other bracelet, except this one has medical information on it. EMTs are trained to check for medical alert jewelry. That means they’ll see it, even if you’re unconscious or can’t communicate for any other reason.
Medical ID bracelets come in as many styles as any other bracelet. Some are rugged and outdoorsy looking while others are simple and elegant, and still, others are funky and fun. To the casual observer, they just look like any other jewelry, but to medical staff, they signal important information.
Who Needs A Medical ID Bracelet?
A medical ID bracelet is a good idea if you have a medical condition that EMTs or doctors would need to know about, should you be become ill or need emergency medical treatment. For example:
- Breathing disorders
- Heart problems
- Autoimmune diseases
- Kidney problems
However, it’s not just about medical conditions. Medical ID bracelets can also be used to alert EMTs to:
- Visual or hearing impairments
- Being on the autistic spectrum
- Alzheimer’s or dementia
- Mental health issues such as depression or schizophrenia
- What medications the wearer is taking
- Any allergies, including medication
- If a certain procedure is contraindicated, e.g. not being able to have an MRI due to being fitted with an older pacemaker
Although we strongly recommend using a medical alert button as well (see the section on drawbacks below), medical ID bracelets can be a good compromise for seniors who are determined not to wear a button.
What Are The Benefits Of Wearing a Medical ID Bracelet?
Wearing a medical ID bracelet means the key information is right there, even if you can’t communicate. Medical staff can take that information into account and treat you accordingly. It’s no exaggeration to say that having your medical information to hand could save your life if you had, for example, a life-threatening allergy to a certain medication. Or say you’re on blood thinners and have an accident – knowing that you’re more prone to bleeding is vital to your medical treatment.
A medical ID bracelet means all the important information is right there for the professionals who need it. Unlike a medical card, which you can be separated from if you lose your wallet or purse, a medical ID bracelet is always there so long as you remember to put it on.
Are There Any Drawbacks To Wearing a Medical ID Bracelet?
There are no drawbacks to wearing a medical ID bracelet. However, there are some things it can’t do. Chiefly, it can’t call for help, or send help to you. For that, you need a medical alert system. A medical alert button ensures help comes to you when you need it.
However, there is definitely a case for having both – a button to summon help, and a bracelet to make sure all your medical information is right there for EMTs to see.
What Can I Engrave On a Medical ID Bracelet?
When choosing what to engrave on your bracelet, there are two main things you need to keep in mind.
The first is the available space. Although space varies between manufacturers, in general, you can expect to have four short lines of text available. Also remember that EMTs might be looking for the bracelet in an urgent situation, and need to see the information clearly, which is hard if it’s too tightly packed.
The second thing to keep in mind is the difference between information that’s needed in an immediate emergency situation, and that which can wait till later. For example, most people don’t need to put a phone number on the tag, as it’s very unlikely an EMT will stop to make a phone call. The only exception might be someone with Alzheimer’s or another condition that means their caregiver must be called at once.
Once you’ve decided what needs to go on your bracelet, give some thought to how to best use the space. It’s hard to convey the amount of information you need without using abbreviations. Medical ID Fashions has a comprehensive list of abbreviations here that can help you decide how best to say what you need to say.
How Much Does a Medical ID Bracelet Cost?
Medical ID bracelets vary in price. In general, you can expect to pay around $20 – $50 for one, although some gold, silver and platinum models run to $100 or over.
Which Wrist Should I Wear It On?
Either wrist works just fine – EMTs are trained to check both arms (and also to check for a medical alert pendant.)
What About USB or QR Medical ID Bracelets?
There are medical ID bracelets available now that include a tiny USB drive, worn in a rugged looking bracelet, or even have a QR chip that can be scanned. USB bracelets are absolutely fine for useful non-urgent information, but we don’t recommend relying on one in an emergency. What if your EMT doesn’t have access to a computer? And they’re not likely to stop treating you just to see what’s on the drive. We’re quite skeptical of QR bracelets – it’s unlikely that your EMT will stop to scan a code in the middle of treating you.
Where Can I Buy A Medical ID Bracelet?
There are lots of companies out there selling medical ID bracelets. In addition, you’ll find lots listed on sites like Amazon and Ebay. Let’s take a look at some of them.
American Medical ID
We’re impressed with American Medical ID’s wide range of styles. They have everything from casual corded bracelets to very pretty costume bracelets, and even titanium options. Most of their bracelets fall around the $30 – $40 mark, but they also have a selection of gold bracelets around $500 for seniors who are also looking for a quality statement piece.
Elegant Medical Alert
As the name suggests, Elegant Medical Alert offers highly attractive medical bracelets that seniors can wear without feeling self-conscious. They have a large range of styles, from laid back casual bands to beautiful multi-strand beaded bracelets that wouldn’t look out of place in a fancy restaurant. Their prices are excellent too, with the most casual options starting around $30 and many options falling in the $40 – $50 range.
Road ID offers smart, modern, rugged medical ID bracelets that are designed to withstand even the most active lifestyles. They’re perfect for seniors who are always on the go. They offer silicon, nylon, and leather bands, in an impressive range of colors. With most options costing between $19.99 and $34.99, they’re very affordable too. They also offer engraved faceplates designed to fit on Apple watches, Fitbits, and Garmin fitness trackers.
Lauren’s Hope has every style of medical ID you can think of, from beautiful rose gold bracelets to sporty white bands, to masculine cuffs or corded options. Their prices tend to fall in the $40 – $80 category (with plenty around $30 – $40). Some of their styles offer a choice of different tags, so they’re more customizable, and you can even have more than one tag and swap as needed.
Medic ID focusses on engraved stainless steel medical alert jewelry. Each bracelet costs $19.95, including engraving and shipping. There’s only one style, available in two sizes: A steel link chain with engraved plate. They’re not a good choice if you want a pretty ID that you can hide, but for those who are happy with a more rugged look, they offer a great price with very clear text.
N-Style has one of the most unique ranges of medical ID bracelets we’ve seen. From simple knotted leather cords to beautiful costume jewelry, to playful dolphin or owl themed bands for kids and adults alike. Most options fall somewhere in the $30 – $60 range. Many of their tags are interchangeable between different bands so you can swap your style as often as you like.
If you want to make sure your medical information is always available, medical ID bracelets can help with that. With such a wide range of options on offer, it’s easy to fit your ID to your personal style. Try pairing one with a medical alert system for even more peace of mind.