As we venture back out, we look at the range of medical ID services to help keep you safe in case of emergency…
There’s no need to shout that you have a medical condition from the rooftops – but having some sort of medical ID on you is so helpful if you need help. It helps to give the emergency services and other healthcare professionals information about your condition so that they can get on with sorting you out as quickly as possible.
Thankfully, Medical ID comes in all shapes and sizes to suit how different we are. From cards that fit in your wallet or pocket to watches, bands, pendants and delicate bracelets, there’s a type of ID to suit all of us.
The snake and staff emblem – the internationally recognised Asclepiad symbol, named after the Roman god of medicine or healing – is usually featured on the ID and most national and international lifesaving organisations include awareness of these products in their training, so they know to look out for it.
Medical ID comes in particular use if you have an ‘invisible’ medical condition (diabetes, epilepsy, extreme allergic reactions) as this symbol alerts people if you can’t tell them. So, it’s better safe than sorry – and our round-up of medical ID services will help.
MedicAlert is the only registered charity providing lifesaving identification. Members choose an emblem from a range of jewellery, including some modern incarnations, such as dog tags or the funky looking ‘urban’ necklace style. If jewellery isn’t your style, there are watches to choose from that bear the international sign of medicine (so it’s visible) with your unique membership number engraved on the back. You then renew your membership each year. Whichever ID you choose, it has your membership number on it, along with an emergency phone number that gives the caller details of your medical condition. It can be accessed worldwide, 24 hours a day and allows your details to be accessed at any time in a medical emergency. As a charity, MedicAlert works hard to raise awareness of the service among emergency personnel and healthcare professionals.
Cost: ID starts at £18.95 (£9.95 for children) – and from £34.95 for a watch – plus the first year’s membership to the MedicAlert Service, which is £32.
MediPAL is an emergency ID card that displays your next of kin contact details. It also allows for 10 prescriptions and seven medical history details, as well as your GP’s name and phone number on the card. The first emergency contact card in the UK, the MediPAL card is a simple, neat design for everyone who needs to carry and recall their details if taken ill or visiting a hospital. All UK ambulance trusts are aware of the service. MediPAL can speak for you when you can’t.
Cost: A MediPAL card, displaying daily medication and medical history, starts from £7.99 with free delivery, which gives lifelong membership at no annual fee. Updates to your card costs £5.99.
Medi-Tag jewellery shows lifesavers and emergency services who you are, includes key medical facts about you, and who to contact – letting family or friends know immediately if anything has happened to you.
Cost: There is a wide range of bracelets, pendants and watches in modern and classic designs (including exclusive designs from Seiko). Bracelets with ID start from £49.95, and watches are currently on offer from £55. Engraving is free. Optional membership to an international 24-hour emergency telephone service operated by the NHS Trust allows you to store more information on a secure database. The membership joining fee (currently £10) and first year’s annual subscription charge (currently £32) are also free with your first product. Renewal by Direct Debit gives a discounted rate at £27.
Universal Medical ID UK
The service was stablished to serve medical communities and people around the world by offering quality medical IDs which allow HCPs to give prompt, precise diagnosis and treatment during an emergency. The business has depended on referrals from HCPs, whose primary interest is the welfare of patients and maintains high standards to retain that trust. While its medical ID bracelets and necklaces are among the most affordable on the market, it offers high quality jewellery in high grade metals, including solid stainless steel, sterling silver, 10ct rolled gold, 10ct and 14ct gold as well as titanium. There’s a good range for children and teens. Adults may like the dog tag design with inbuilt USB on which you can add info.
Cost: Prices from £24.99. The products come with a unique ID and you can fill in your medical information that HCPs can then access. Free annual membership is required to purchase from Universal Medical ID UK. You can order online, by post, fax or phone.
Lock it down – extra-level ID
Your phone is also a great place to store some of your vital info and worth inputting into your phone – many devices, including iPhone and Android – allow this to be accessed even when your phone is locked, so there’s no need for anyone to unlock your phone. You can add your basic details (name, address, who to contact in an emergency) as well as your medical conditions, medication and any allergies you may have. Here’s how to do it…
- Open ‘Health’ and tap ‘Medical ID’ then ‘Edit’.
- Enter your information.
- Turn on ‘Show When Locked’ to make your medical ID available from the lock screen.
- Tap ‘Done’.
Apple also recently introduced a feature that shares your real-time location with the emergency services after you call them.
As there are so many different devices, these steps may vary slightly according to your make and model, but it should go something like this:
- In Settings, go to ‘Users and Accounts’ (or Users) then ‘Emergency Information’. It may be under ‘My Info’, if your phone has that listed.
- Tap ‘Edit’ or ‘Edit Information’.
- You should see the fields to type in all your necessary info. You can add emergency contacts (if they’re already in your phone book).
- You should also be to add a message to your lock screen – a great place to put your vital medical info. Add a line to your lock screen by looking in your settings for ‘Screen Lock’ or ‘Lock Screen Message’. You can then add your custom text.