FILE – Paramedic with BC Ambulance Services drivig in Victoria, B.C. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick Images)

FILE – Paramedic with BC Ambulance Services drivig in Victoria, B.C. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick Images)

Pilot project to use MedicAlert bracelets for B.C. youth with mental health conditions

Bracelets used for people with dementia, medication allergies to be tested at BC Children’s Hospital

Emergencies can be a scary or traumatic time for kids with mental health challenges. BC Children’s Hospital is hoping MedicAlert bracelets will equip emergency responders when helping these youth in times of crisis.

On Tuesday, BC Children’s Hospital launched the pilot project with MedicAlert Foundation Canada, the company behind bracelets for medication allergies, diabetes and cognitive conditions such as autism and dementia, to create a similar kind of bracelet for youth with mental health challenges.

BC Children’s Hospital psychiatrist-in-chief, Dr. Jana Davidson, said in a news release that the collaboration will first and foremost help medical personnel give the specific care a youth needs when in the midst of a mental health crisis.

“Children and youth with mental health challenges can be particularly vulnerable in emergency situations,” she said. “By empowering [first responders] with the right information, we can help ensure young people in B.C. receive supportive, appropriate care.”

READ MORE: Youth in care need better path to independence, B.C. experts say

READ MORE: B.C. teen’s death points to gaps in youth mental-health supports: rep

Each bracelet includes a code that tells paramedics, police and firefighters the child’s medical diagnosis. Emergency responders can then call the MedicAlert hotline to access the youth’s medication information, their support network and effective ways to calm them down.

Meanwhile, MedicAlert notifies the caregiver or family about the emergency and the child’s location.

The Provincial Health Services Authority is hoping to enroll 100 patients during the pilot, which is now open to patients across B.C.

READ MORE: Kids Help Phone to launch 24/7 online chat for B.C. youth

Enrollment will be made available at the time of diagnosis at BC Children’s Neuropsychiatry Clinic or when discharged from one of BC Children’s three psychiatric inpatient units. Children not currently being treated at the hospital can enrol by calling MedicAlert at 1-855-348-3353.


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