Many of us wrangle different medical conditions as we get older, from heart conditions or diabetes to food or medicine allergies.
It’s natural to worry sometimes, what if you were to become ill and unable to communicate your health issues? The EMTs wouldn’t necessarily have the right information, and that might delay treatment, or even cause an adverse effect if they treat you with a medication you can’t have.
Medical alert jewelry is a quick, easy and effective way of communicating vital medical information, even when you can’t speak or don’t have someone nearby to advocate for you. Let’s take a look at how it works, and some pros and cons.
What Is Medical Alert Jewelry?
In the event that EMTs are sent to help you, the medical alert jewelry informs them about any medical conditions or drug allergies you have. It means that vital information is available, even if you can’t communicate it to them for any reason (such as being unconscious, or simply too stressed to remember.)
Medical alert jewelry is available in a wide range of styles, from quirky colored silicone bracelets to rugged outdoorsy wristbands or pretty, delicate necklaces. Whatever your personal style, you’re sure to find something that fits.
Although most medical alert jewelry looks like ordinary jewelry at a glance, it’s are very much visible to EMTs. EMTs are trained to check patients’ neck and wrist areas, to see if they’re wearing medical id information.
What Information Does Medical Alert Id Jewelry Contain?
Most types of medical alert jewelry offer anywhere from two to five lines of text. This translates to a few words – enough to list key medical conditions and allergies. What you have engraved on your item is personal and should be based on the most vital information EMTs need to have. This could include:
- Conditions such as heart problems, diabetes or Alzheimer’s
- If you’re wearing a pacemaker
- Medications you’re on or any medication allergies
- Impairments such as being deaf or visually impaired
- Name and contact number of your doctor
- Emergency contact number
There are even USB bracelets on the market now that house a small USB drive in a rugged, sporty-looking bracelet, so you can keep your full medical details on the drive.
Where Do I Get Medical Alert Jewelry?
There are lots of medical alert jewelry manufacturers around – a quick Google or Amazon search will turn up lots of different options. Some well-known companies include Road ID, American Medical ID, and Elegant Medical Alert, plus there are lots of options on Amazon or eBay.
How Much Does Medical Alert Jewelry Cost?
Medical alert jewelry costs vary widely. Most designs fall in the $20 – $50 price bracket, but you can pay hundreds of dollars for pure gold, silver or platinum models.
Pros and Cons of Medical Alert Jewelry
Some of the pros of medical alert jewelry include:
- Vital information is available to EMTs at a glance
- Reduces the worry of EMTs not knowing about drug allergies or existing conditions
- Less stress about getting the wrong treatment or having a medication reaction due to being given something you can’t take
- Helps EMTs and doctors to treat you appropriately
- Many models blend in easily with what you’re wearing and aren’t immediately noticeable
Some of the cons of medical alert jewelry include:
- The system relies on EMTs remembering to look for the jewelry
- There’s a limit to how much information they can hold
- It’s all too easy to forget to wear it
- The visible engraving makes some wearers feel self-conscious
- It’s only useful once help arrives – wearing it doesn’t help you contact emergency services if you should fall or have a medical emergency
Alternatives to Medical Alert Jewelry
Medical alert jewelry is a great idea, but it does have its drawbacks. The main one is that it can’t get help for you. If you fall or become ill when you’re alone at home, or out and about by yourself, you still need to wait for someone to find you and call the emergency services.
A medical alert system on the other hand, makes sure you can always get help when you need it. The moment something happens, you simply press the button to be connected to the call center. If you opt for a model with automatic fall detection, the alert system will connect with the help center when it detects a fall even if you don’t press the button. If you can’t speak when they call back, they’ll automatically send help to your location.
Wearing a medical alert provides much more peace of mind than engraved medical jewelry. Not only can you get help at the press of a button, but call center staff can stay on the line with you, which is comforting. You can also choose your emergency response. If EMTs aren’t needed, the call center can dispatch a family member or caregiver.
If you’re concerned about relaying vital medical information, many medical alert companies offer a vial of life. This is a form you fill out with all your medical information, then seal in a plastic bag, and keep on your refrigerator. You can also place a decal on your front door so emergency personnel knows to check your refrigerator for information.
It’s good to know help is at hand. Medical alert jewelry is a good idea, but a medical alert button with an added vial of life is the best option to keep you and your loved ones safe.