Medical Alert IDs and Hydrocephalus
The Importance of Medical Alert IDs
Under emergency circumstances, time is critical, and being able to quickly identify your medical condition is of extreme importance. If you or your loved one were to go into shunt failure or ETV failure and are unable to communicate, medical IDs can provide rapid identification for emergency responders and medical personnel. Without proper identification, common symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, and vomiting can be misdiagnosed and appropriate care could be jeopardized or delayed.
What types of Medical Alert IDs are available for people with hydrocephalus and where can they be purchased?
Medical alerts come in various forms and shapes:
- HydroAssist® Mobile Application
- Dog tags
- Sport ID Bands
- USB Drives (as bracelets, keychains, necklaces, or just an old-fashioned flash drive)
The options seem endless! The different forms of medical alerts allow individuals to choose based on their personal preferences, as some may prefer a piece of jewelry and others may use HA’s Mobile Application, HydroAssist®.
Download HA’s Mobile Application, HydroAssist®.
HydroAssist® is the first mobile app that allows you to record and store your hydrocephalus treatment history and access it when you need it from your mobile device or through your computer or laptop. Perfect for the individual living with hydrocephalus and the caregiver, alike, HydroAssist® allows you to:
- Enter your current hydrocephalus treatments, including shunts, ETV, and ETV/CPC, and assistive devices, like an anti-siphon device (ASD).
- Store multiple active treatments, for those patients treated with more than one shunt or with a shunt and an ETV.
- Record changes to each individual treatment, including a setting change to your programmable shunt, a setting change to your ASD, or a surgical revision to your shunt.
- Make treatments inactive, allowing you to maintain a history of your past treatments.
- Store images from your MRI and/or CT Scan
- Enter information about yourself or, if you are a caregiver, about the individual with hydrocephalus in the About Me section.
- Store medical and emergency contacts for easy communication, particularly in the case of an emergency.
- Download the app to multiple devices allowing parents, spouses, or a caregiver to have your latest information on their mobile devices in case of emergency.
- Access your information from your desktop or mobile device, for ease of data entry.
There are several organizations and companies that provide different medical alert devices or jewelry and they can be purchased through multiple websites.
What Information should people with hydrocephalus include on their Medical Alert ID’s?
If you prefer jewelry or other devices:
The message on your medical alert device (bracelet, necklace, keychain… etc.) should be simple and to the point. “Hydrocephalus” should be engraved boldly on one side. The other side of the bracelet can have other information such as:
- “VP Shunt”, “VA Shunt”, “VPL Shunt”, “LP Shunt”, ETV or ETV/CPC
- Emergency Contact and Telephone Number
- Name of your Neurosurgeon and Telephone Number
- A referral to another place for more information, for example, visit HA’s mobile application, HydroAssist®, or our Medical History and Medicine document (link opens a new window).
There are many ways you can take precautionary measures to ensure that emergency responders are aware and can act quickly. The Hydrocephalus Association urges patients to take action in managing their hydrocephalus. If you are unsure of what type of treatment you received you can contact your neurosurgeon or the facility where your shunt was placed and ask for your medical records.