In Impact Stories, Physical & mental health, wellbeing & safety

Project: To allow the elderly to communicate their problem successfully with as little stress as possible during emergencies, to keep their communication aids safe during transit and finally to help emergency services quickly and efficiently find the information they need.

Grant: £2,200

Fund: Rectory Homes Fund

Medi-SOS is a charity providing emergency grab-bags for elderly people being taken to A&E. The charity began very small, in response to the problem that many older people face when being taken to A&E. They often arrive without their hearing aids, glasses or dentures which help them communicate and with no medication or other information regarding their underlying medical condition.

The Medi-SOS grab bag was devised after consultation with emergency workers, a GP, a practice nurse, and carers to alleviate these issues. They created an emergency grab-bag packed with communication aids, information forms and a copy of their prescription to aid the emergency services during medical emergencies.

“We were aware of a system already running in the community – but felt it just didn’t go far enough – by stopping short in helping with the most important aspect, communication. The repetition of giving name, date of birth, medication etc. becomes traumatic particularly to those mentally impaired and it was out of this that the Medi-SOS Grab-Bag and its ID form was hatched.”

In one instance, after a heavy fall and only being half-dressed, an elderly woman arrived at A&E without her glasses and hearing aids and therefore totally bewildered by what was going on around her. Another time, after what was thought to be a stroke, an elderly man arrived at A&E without his dentures and had great difficulty explaining that, all they needed was their dentures to converse coherently – he was in fact just seriously dehydrated.

When the emergency services see the clear red and white logo sticker/fridge magnet they will know that they can quickly access the homeowners/patients information without having to rummage through personal details and paperwork. Time is of the essence during these situations and if the patient has suffered from a stroke communication can often be compromised reinforcing the importance of the grab bags.

Not only is Medi-SOS seeking to simplify the lives of the elderly and emergency services but they are also playing a role in the rehabilitation of young offenders within Buckinghamshire. All the printing (stickers, ID Form, instruction form) is procured from HMP Aylesbury for young offenders and Medi-SOS is working alongside the service that rehabilitates and trains the young men, giving them the chance to rebuild their lives through employment on release.

Over 450 grab-bags have been issued to seniors in the past year, and this project was initiated to allow Medi-SOS to produce a new batch of 500 grab-bags for the Chiltern Area. This will cover 1000 households and benefit 1500 people.