What MedicAlert Awareness Month means to caregivers

medic alertAugust is MedicAlert Awareness Month, during which the MedicAlert foundation graciously reminds us of the importance of medical bracelets. And indeed they are very important, not least for caregivers. As the National Institute on Aging recommends, having a care receiver wear a medical bracelet is high on the list of caregiver priorities (in fact as important as any other medical supplies for home care), especially if the person suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of dementia or mental illness. It is well known that people with cognitive decline tend to wander away and get lost. A medical bracelet allows bystanders to know the health status of the person – in case they behave erratically, as they are wont to do – as well as who to call to return the person to safety.

Benefits of a medical bracelet

·         Provides a quick recognition of medical conditions, allergies, medications, or treatments wishes for faster and more effective care.

·         Reduces treatment errors.

·         Speaks for the wearer in case of an emergency (we all know mentally ill people, for instance, are not always adept at expressing themselves).

·         EMTs, doctors, and nurses are trained to look for medical ID during an emergency.

  Caregivers of people who have

·         Alzheimer’s disease.

·         Dementia.

·         ADD/ADHD.

·         Anemia.

·         Hypertension.

·         Diabetes.

·         Cancer.

·         Food allergies.

·         Lung disease.

·         Autism.

·         Heart disease.

·         Asthma.

·         COPD.

·         Blood disorders.

·         Drug allergies.

·         Stroke risks.

·         Epilepsy.

·         Seizures.

·         Multiple sclerosis.

Or are on

·         Dialysis.

·         Blood thinners.

Or who have to wear a

·         Pacemaker.

As well as caregivers of

·         Children with special needs.

Must make sure that the individuals that they provide care for are fitted with a medical bracelet – preferably on the dominant hand to reduce the risk of removal – with the proper information engraved on it.

Types of medical bracelet engraving




Single condition

A simple way of communicating a single medical condition in case of an emergency.

Limited information, excluding medications, other conditions, and health history.

Free text

The caregiver decides what the most important info is in case of an emergency.

Misspellings and inaccuracies can lead to confusion. Engraved phone numbers can change.


Linked to the wearer’s personal health record from which medical personnel can draw unique information.

Customized engravings with pin numbers and log-in info are not HIPAA-compliant and give anyone access to that info should the bracelet become lost.


Related Read:  Alzheimer Caregiving: Dealing with the Challenges