Background In an emergency, medical professionals need urgent access to patient information. Patients can share information via the Message in a Bottle (MIAB) scheme or via the ‘emergency contacts’ feature on their smartphone.
Objectives The first objective was to find out if patients receiving specialist palliative care use the MIAB scheme, or their smartphones, to store and share health information. The second objective was to increase the use of these methods to share information. The third objective was to make the use of these methods’ routine, beyond the end of this project.
Methods We asked patients attending Y Bwythn Newydd to complete a simple questionnaire about how they store and share information about their health in case of an emergency. We gave a Lions’ tub to those patients that did not have one, explaining that the scheme provided information about their diagnosis, next of kin information, and any advanced care decisions such as preferred place of care/death. We taught patients how to use the ‘emergency contacts’ feature on their smartphone.
Results 31 patients completed the questionnaire. Only one of the patients was already using a MIAB. 28 MIAB tubs were handed out over four weeks. 29 out of 31 patients thought the scheme was a good idea. Nine out of 31 patients had a smart phone, of which four had set up the ‘emergency contacts’ feature.
Conclusions This project increased the use of the Message in a Bottle scheme, and the ‘emergency contacts’ smartphone feature. We have demonstrated how to increase the use of these methods of sharing emergency information. Advance care planning with simple interventions such helps empower patients and their families by ensuring their wishes are fulfilled at the end of life. More research is needed to further evaluate the impact of such interventions.
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