Many carers aren’t aware of this, but apart from displaying the ‘obvious’ medical information that a first responder needs, an ID card for a someone living withg dementia can be a life-saver.
Not only can it hold sensitive information behind a scratch panel, but it can also provide critical instructions on how to contact their family.
That seems reason enough for a patient to start carrying an ID card, of course, but there are other aspects to dementia care that make one a real boon.
For people with dementia still living at home…
Dementia isn’t something that just arrives overnight. It’s a process that continues over time. In the early stages, individuals can still lead very meaningful lives at home. However, it’s worth introducing the concept of an ID card at this early stage for many reasons.
• It pays to think ahead. The person may not be wandering yet, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen at some point. People with dementia don’t schedule it in their diary, so it will be a surprise the first time. Providing them with an ID card now will help mitigate any problems and give a carer comfort in advance.
• It’s a good idea to get someone used to wearing an ID card now, rather than wait until it’s needed. Everybody is different, but many people living with dementia struggle with new ideas and change. Getting an individual used to wearing an ID card whilst they can still understand what it is will help. It can take a little time, for they may not grasp its importance, but you really don’t know when the first disappearance will happen. And you don’t want to have to battle kindly with your patient in the future to get them to wear one when it’s vital.
• Imagine the panic they’ll feel if they can’t find their way home. Dementia progresses differently in each person, however, it’s very possible that someone who is still able to visit the shops on their own may get confused mid-trip. That’s a frightening thought. An ID card will enable bystanders to help the confused person contact their carer, or direct them home.
• Consider the scenario where both the carer and the patient are in an accident. It’s not a pleasant prospect, but it’s possible. A carer needs peace of mind that other points of contact are available to first responders too.
• Consider also the scenario where the main carer is out at the shops and has an accident. An ID card worn by the carer can highlight that there is a dementia dependent at home and they need assistance in the event that the carer is incapacitated.
For people with dementia living in a care home…
Many of the reasons listed above apply to someone who has dementia and is cared for in a care home too. However, the emphasis shifts from fears about an individual wandering too far, to giving relatives peace of mind. A care home that requests an attendee to wear an ID card is:
• Providing diplomatic evidence that the organisation thinks and plans ahead
• Showing a practical concern for the welfare and mental wellbeing of their patients
• Clearly illustrating the professionalism of the organisation
• Giving peace of mind to relatives
• Providing all staff, whether full time, part time, or temporary, the information they need in the event of an emergency
A final thought…
Many people automatically think of emergency bracelets for ID information. And it’s true that they have their place. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the amount of information they can hold is limited. An ID card, on the other hand, contains a lot more. If certain information is sensitive, there’s also no reason why it can’t be stored under a scratch panel for confidentiality.
Details can include:
• 2 ICE (In Case of Emergency) Contacts
• 2 ICE (In Case of Emergency) Phone Numbers
• Date of Birth
• NHS Number
• Medical History
• Doctors Contact Information
If you’d like to find out more about ID cards for people with dementia, or indeed other medical conditions, then please have a look at our Dementia ICEtag page. If you have a specific requirement or would like a bulk order for your organisation or charity we’d be delighted to talk through your requirements in more detail and guide you towards the right solution.