“Keep their medical information in a wallet attached at the front of their wheelchair.” This was some of the most appreciated advice we got at a recent transition meeting.
The children’s hospital that we have used for the girls’ medical needs is helping us with the transition to adult medical services. That in itself is a HUGE blessing! I mean, they are not just giving us a checklist (which isn’t a bad thing, either) but they are walking us through it. They didn’t stop at inviting us to attend a meeting to discuss the potential stumbling blocks headed our way. They are assisting us to be proactive. Getting their medical information printed out specifically for a wallet was one of the things we left with.
After updating their medical history, current prescriptions, and adding a synopsis of how each daughter is able to communicate and function in daily life, they shrunk the extensive report down to be folded into a photo protector for a wallet.
You know when you get a prescription and it comes with an insert that they somehow manage to cram every possible symptom, warning and any other fact about that medicine into? And you are amazed it is all on that one sheet of paper? Well, it is something like that! Some really relevant details are included on the sheet: how they communicate, what their mobility is like, what their personalities are like, who should be called. This way they would know what is accident related and what is just typical. (You can do the same thing with your printer or copier at home and reduce it to really small print.)
We also added a photo.
The whole thing is very similar to the Yellow Dot Program in Pennsylvania . However, the medical information stays with the person on their wheelchair rather than the glove compartment of the van.
We gave our daughters time to shop for wallets to put the medical info into…twice.
Honestly, the first wallet was too small since they also had their senior pictures in it to hand out to friends. The zipper jammed in no time. Our last purchase is bigger but hopefully not too big to be in their way. The idea, the transition staff told us, is to keep it close by them so they always have it under their control. Additionally it would be noticed by any first responders. You need it to be under their protection, as opposed to hanging on the back, with all that personal and private information. Hopefully it will be just right this time!
We found that a large loop or handle made it easier to attach to the chair, especially if it has a clip to hold is secure. We also found that the loop should be separate from the zipper pull, not BE the zipper pull, or it is just plain annoying! This is a cute one here!
And finally, we were advised to add a medical alert charm to the outside of the wallet.
This would hopefully catch the eye of medical personnel and alert them to the info inside the wallet. I really like the ones that can be engraved or even come with the message to find medical information inside the wallet. This is one purchase we hope we never actually needed!