New medical info magnet hopes to save lives

·2 min read

A new resource guide and medical information magnet will help keep local residents safe, says Caroline Davies, co-chairwoman of the Age Friendly Community Advisory Committee of Saint Andrews.

The committee has been creating the two resource materials since August, and both were delivered to Saint Andrews residents this week.

"We're trying to achieve a community of people who can live independent, active lives as long as possible," Davies said.

The 24-page guide features descriptions, phone numbers, email addresses and websites of community resources, from wellness centres, to places to volunteer, to community groups. It also includes banks, schools, sports, churches and cultural events.

"It might seem simple and obvious to some people but it's not always obvious," Davies said about community resources.

If the guide can help some newcomers, get people more active or help organizations get more volunteers, she said it will have achieved its mission.

In addition, the group has put together an emergency medical alert fridge magnet with the help of Jimmy Craig, Saint Andrews' assistant fire chief and a paramedic. It features all the information a first responder would need to know if someone at home is unresponsive or if the information is not easily accessible for the patient.

The magnet has places to fill in the blanks for important medical information, such as resident name(s), pre-existing medical conditions and history, medications, next of kin and allergy information.

Craig said the magnet could really help medical personnel by giving them clues to the person's health status or how to treat them. He said first responders in the Saint Andrews area typically only find half a dozen people unconscious in their homes alone a year, but even if it saves one life, it's worth it.

Both projects were organized by a group of two Age Friendly Community committee members, three grant-hired staff and with the help of Craig, said Davies. It's part of the town's initiatives to retain their World Health Organization Age Friendly Community status, which the town has had since November 2019.

The ideas of a resource guide and magnet were suggestions from a consultation session upon the group's formation four years ago.

Davies said she hopes residents put the materials to good use. She's thrilled to see them launch.

"If all we achieve is everyone fills out that emergency information sheet and puts it in a visible spot, then we've accomplished our mission."

The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada.

Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal