Medical Alert Bracelets & Wristbands
We don’t like to think about falling or having accidents but they do occur, especially as we age. In Canada, one in three people over the age of 65 will experience a fall this year. A concern for many people is “What if I have an accident or a fall and can’t tell someone about my medical history?”
Many people consider purchasing a medical alert bracelet. This wearable device can tell people about any significant medical conditions you have or any medications you take — even when you can’t. Purchasing a medical alert bracelet can be reassuring, make people feel they’ve taken an important step toward protecting their safety.
There are different kinds of devices available and they’re not all the same. With so many Canadian medical alert bracelets on the market, how can you choose which one is right for you?
Here are some facts about some medical alert bracelets in Canada that can help you narrow your choices.
Basic Medical Alert Bracelet
These medical alert bracelets have a recognizable medical symbol engraved on them, which alerts emergency personnel that the wearer has a specific medical condition they need to be aware of. Some of these bracelets are pre-inscribed with a particular condition, such as diabetes or specific allergies. A person can purchase the medical alert bracelet inscribed with the appropriate condition and begin wearing it immediately. There is no personalization — i.e. your name, medication you might take, who to contact — with this type of bracelet.
Other types of medical alert bracelets include custom engraving with the price of purchase. With these products, the purchaser can select essential personal information to include on the bracelet. This might be the wearer’s name, who to contact in case of emergency, as well as the necessary medical conditions. Some of these bracelets direct emergency personnel to a wallet card for more detailed information. In that case, it is important for wearers to have the wallet card on them at all times. There is a slight delay between purchase and starting to wear this type of medical alert bracelet to allow for the custom engraving.
These basic medical alert bracelets are available in many different materials and fashion options. Some are also available as necklaces. Having material choice and fashionable options can be appealing to people are self-conscious about the appearance of medical alert devices.
Where do I get a medical alert bracelet?
Basic medical alert bracelets in Canada are available in department stores, drug stores, and online stores.
Medical Alert Bracelet with Medical Profile
These medical alert bracelets are similar to the ones with customized engraving above, but they have the added feature of being linked to a medical profile that can list medications, allergies, surgeries, and other relevant information. In addition, the profile can include a list of people to contact in the event of an emergency.
The medical alert bracelet will be engraved with an identification number that is unique to the wearer as well as a phone number or website to contact for the medical information. Any emergency personnel assisting the wearer is able to get more detailed information than can be contained on the bracelet or on a wallet card.
An advantage of having a medical alert bracelet associated with an active profile is that information can be updated as it changes. For example, if the wearer develops a condition, stops taking certain medications, or starts a new treatment, the profile can be updated without having to replace the medical alert bracelet. The more current a person keeps the medical profile, the better equipped emergency personnel are to provide treatment.
Before purchasing a medical alert bracelet with profile, find out if you have to set up the medical profile on your own or if someone will assist you. Many people find it easier to have assistance because those associates have the expertise and knowledge about what information should be in the profile. They can ensure the information is not only accurate but also presented in a way that emergency personnel will understand.
Like the basic medical alert bracelets, there are a variety of styles and materials available. Necklaces are also an option.
Where do I get a medical alert bracelet with profile?
MedicAlert® and Universal Medical ID (Canada) are two suppliers of the medical alert bracelets with profile in Canada. Both companies have websites and toll-free numbers to call.
Medical Alert Systems
Some people have concerns that medical alert bracelets with a profile could cost valuable time following a fall or accident. When emergency personnel are required to phone the hotline or log into a website to access the medical profile, minutes could pass when time is of the essence. That’s why medical alert systems are a popular choice. With many medical alert systems, two-way communication is part of the package.
What that means is if you fall, the service has a trained Response Associate on the line as soon as the help button is pushed. The Response Associate can communicate with you within less than a minute and assess the situation. If necessary, emergency personnel are contacted and the Response Associate stays on the line until they arrive. The Response Associate will immediately provide emergency personnel with your medical history.
One of the key differences with medical alert services versus medical alert bracelets is in the appearance of the device. Because the device either links to a communicator or acts as the communicator, it has a large button that, when pressed, connects with the communicator and the Response Centre.
There are different service packages available from different providers. Philips Lifeline, for example, offers the HomeSafe package that includes a medical alert wristband or pendant option.
AutoAlert and GoSafe
For people who are especially concerned about falls, Philips Lifeline offers AutoAlert. This is fall-detection technology that determines when a fall has occurred and can automatically alert the Response Centre even when you can’t.
AutoAlert comes with a pendant to wear — not a wristband — because the technology works better at the neck/chest level. A wristband experiences too much regular, vertical movement to accurately determine a fall has occurred. The advanced fall-detection technology in AutoAlert has algorithms that can detect the difference between everyday movements and a fall.
With Philips Lifeline’s GoSafe medical alert system, you have the freedom to engage in your everyday activities, whether at home or away from home. If you fall or experience an accident, GoSafe uses six different locating technologies so that you can be located accurately and quickly. The pendant acts as your two-way connection to the Response Centre.
With all of the Philips Lifeline packages, one of our trained associates will install the equipment properly and assist in creating your medical profile so you can be assured it is accurate and up-to-date.
Using a Medical Alert Device
Regardless of what medical alert bracelet, system, or pendant you choose, remember to wear it at all times. Incidents can occur at any time and if your medical alert bracelet or pendant isn’t on you, it can’t provide anyone with your essential medical information. So as you’re comparing medical alert bracelets and systems keep comfort in mind. Is this device something that you’ll be comfortable wearing all the time? Is it waterproof and able to be worn in the shower or bath? All of Philips Lifeline pendants and wristbands are waterproof and their lightweight design makes them comfortable for continual wear.