Many people with epilepsy find it reassuring and helpful to carry something with them that says they have epilepsy. This might be an ID card, necklace or bracelet. By carrying something like this, if they were to have a seizure, they have something with them that can let other people know they have epilepsy – and tells them what they can do to help.
There are many different companies that make medical jewellery and ID cards or ‘in case of emergency’ cards. Each product varies in what it can do including:
- ID cards which someone can keep in their pocket that say how to help during a seizure
- cards that allow someone’s next of kin (person to contact in an emergency) to be contacted
- bracelets that allow medical personnel to access details of the person’s medical condition or contact their doctor.
In this article NSE’s epilepsy information team guides you through some of these products and tells you how they work. We hope this will help you to decide if you – or someone you know who has epilepsy – want to carry something with you.
The snake and staff symbol
Many of the companies that make medical jewellery use the symbol of a snake and staff on them to make them recognisable. The symbol is associated with the rod and staff of Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, which is recognised as a symbol for the medical profession throughout the world.
Contact4Me is a system that means that your next of kin can be contacted if you have an accident or are taken ill. Up to 10 phone numbers, of your family or friends who you would like to be contacted in an emergency, are held on a personal emergency database (PED). Your PED can be accessed via the internet or through an emergency helpline. You can also access and update your information immediately from anywhere in the world. In addition to your contact numbers, the details of your medical conditions can also be listed. Members receive two credit card sized membership cards, a key fob and weatherproof sticker, all of which contain the details of the Contact4Me website and telephone number, and the individual’s membership number. This means your details can be accessed from other countries. To find out more, visit the Contact4Me website.
The MedicAlert Foundation
MedicAlert produces medical jewellery including bracelets and necklets (emblems). By joining this scheme your medical details are kept on a database. Each emblem has the symbol of the snake and staff, and, engraved on the reverse, your medical condition, the telephone number for MedicAlert and your own personal identification number. This means that if you have an accident or a seizure someone can clearly see that you have epilepsy. Also, medical personnel, such as accident and emergency doctors, can call the emergency number if they need more details about you or your medical condition, your address, your next of kin or your doctor’s details. To find out more, visit the MedicAlert website.
Next of Kin and Medical Response Epilepsy ID Tags
Epilepsy ID tags combine a ‘dog-tag’ style medical tag necklace, ‘lifeline’ key ring tag and credit card size membership card. The dog tag necklace has the Medical Response logo and the snake and staff symbol on the front, and your details can be engraved on the back. The key ring has the number for Medical Response and individual ID number so that emergency services can find out the details of your next of kin. The membership card also contains your name and medical notes. To find out more, visit the Medical Response website.