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The Carer's Emergency Card

Back in 2007 Bristol City Council (UK) and South Gloucestershire Council initiated a new emergency card to be issued to carers so that they could be identified as people who may have someone who depends on them.  These were free cards that were designed to alert the emergency services that, in the event of a carer falling ill, then there may be someone who needs their help too.

Carers cardThe emergency services would then contact Adult Community Care (or similar agency) who will then ensure that the cared for person is safe.

Since 2007 the scheme has been rolled out around the rest of the country and even been adopted by charities such as the Carer's Trust.

 

In essence this is a really important mechanism that ensures that vulnerable people are cared for when their own carers are involved in an accident or become incapacitated.  Typically these are designed for carers of those looking after loved ones with Alzheimer's Disease, dementia and those who are disabled.

The Gap Between a Good Idea and Reality

It is beyond question that the emergency services need to know if their patient (who may be unconscious) is also a carer.  The scheme is therefore vital to ensuring the safety of those who are cared for.  But evidence we obtained from our attendance at the Emergency Services Show ("ESS") in September may give cause for concern.  We spoke to over 1,000 members of the police and ambulance services at the ESS and asked them all the same question.  "When treating a patient would you ever look in their purse, wallet, handbag or even their mobile phone to gain more information on the patient?"  The overwhelming response was NO.  We were told that there have been a number of allegations in recent years from members of the public that money and personal effects had gone missing with fingers being pointed at the emergency responders.  As a result many Trusts had amended their policies so that paramedics should not look in purses etc to avoid any claims of theft.

So where does this leave the emergency carer's card?  Unfortunately it may take a significant amount of time before anyone recognises that the patient is a carer.  In fact they may have to wait until the patient recovers consciousness before the cared for person is recognised.

We also recently attended a Memory Cafe organised by the local Alzheimer's Society group.  When we mentioned that paramedics would not look in a patient's wallet or purse, there was obvious concern raised by those carers attending.  The only place paramedics are likely to look is on a wrist, which is why we think the tap2tag wristband can bridge the gap.

We did some more research and there are some interesting posts on the internet.  You might want to check out this feed on Facebook as it covers some of the issues in the US too.  Bottom line is that wristbands are the best way of communicating your medical information.

https://www.facebook.com/EmergencyMedicalServices/posts/208207400073

As a wearer of a tap2tag medical alert wristband you can enter information about the person you are caring for.  As a result their needs will be administered to more promptly than if they carried a card.

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