PCHA begins its Teen Topics Series for the month of October. In this week’s post, American Medical IDs, introduces I.D.’s as one step toward families helping their teens take ownership of their own care. Read further on the importance of involving teens in self -care and for a special offer .
How Medical IDs Can Help Teens with Self-Care
Adolescents living with congenital heart disease are a rapidly growing population1. Most young people living with a heart condition will need a regular review throughout their lives and adolescence marks the start of a new transition from pediatric to adult health care.
Experts recommend that developing the right behavior and responsibility in self-care should start as early as possible during a child’s teenage years2. A successful transition is central to managing their health such as timely follow-ups with primary care physicians, managing medications, and preparing for medical emergencies.
Medical IDs for Teens with Congenital Heart Disease
Medical IDs are a piece of engraved jewelry that teenagers can wear to take charge of their health in case of an emergency.
National health organizations recommend medical IDs for persons living with health conditions including CHD3. In an emergency, congenital heart disease can be hard to identify, especially when a patient becomes unconscious or is unable to communicate.
Teenagers with heart conditions can wear their medical ID as a bracelet or necklace where important medical information is engraved. Each medical ID is unique and should include the wearer’s name, heart condition, such as congenital heart disease or cardiomyopathy, implants such as pacemakers or defibrillator, prescribed medications, and in case of emergency contact(s). 95% of first responders immediately look for a medical ID because access to medical information is vital for timely diagnosis and treatment.
A medical ID can help reduce a young person’s anxieties and offer assurance that they can get the right help when they need it.
Self-Advocacy and Raising Awareness
Starting a conversation about congenital heart disease can be challenging for young people. They are at the stage where they need to belong or fit in with peers. Certain heart conditions can cause teenagers to have symptoms that are more visible than others, such as having blue tinted lips and nail beds or feeling tired4. At some point, teenagers living with CHD will need to communicate and answer questions that friends, classmates, and other people may have about their health.
Wearing a medical ID for congenital heart disease can open a conversation in a positive way about their condition and educate peers of how CHD should be taken seriously. It also opens opportunities for peers and older adults to show their support and advocacy for an adolescent’s health and well-being.
Helping your Teenager Choose a CHD Medical ID
Teens can have different views about medical alert jewelry despite its numerous benefits. The need to establish their identity and express themselves can influence their willingness to wear something that may not always reflect their style or personality. This is why it’s important to involve them in choosing a medical ID that they would love and be proud to wear. The good news is, medical IDs have gone a long way in terms of style.
Here are some considerations that you and your teen can make when choosing a medical ID.
1. Medical ID bracelet vs necklace – medical IDs should be worn at all times so go for the type of jewelry they’d be most comfortable wearing every day. One aspect to look at is a teenager’s regular activities such as attending gym class or participating in sports where wearing a necklace could be an issue. In this case, sporty or active medical ID bracelets are recommended.
Alternately, necklaces are preferred by teens who want to wear something that does not get in the way like a bracelet does. Consider how much flexibility is needed before making a decision on the jewelry.
2. Durability and price – medical IDs range in price depending on the type of material used to make them. Silicone IDs are considered a practical choice by many for its affordability, plus silicone IDs are waterproof and can keep up with most type of activities.
Medical IDs made with precious metals like sterling silver, stainless steel, gold, platinum, and titanium may be more expensive but are valuable pieces of jewelry to own that could last a lifetime.
3. Style – teens prefer wearing medical IDs that reflect their personality and it’s possible with new medical ID styles! They can also choose to custom build their own medical ID bracelet or necklace by choosing from a variety of chain, clasp, and charm styles.
4. Custom engraving – no two people are the same so medical IDs shouldn’t be either. Choose a medical ID that you and your teen can custom engrave with their own name (or nickname), precise medical condition, and their emergency contact information.
Engraving can be applied on the front and back of your medical alert jewelry. Look for unlimited engraving options so you don’t need to worry about counting the number of words or lines.
Medical IDs can help keep your teenager safe as they develop their own sense of responsibility and care for their own health. Having them wear a medical alert jewelry can let you enjoy peace of mind while giving your teenager the independence that they need.
PCHA Members Get 10% Off on American Medical IDs
The Pediatric Congenital Heart Association (PCHA) has partnered with American Medical IDs to make medical alert jewelry more accessible to its members. Members can enjoy a 10% discount on all medical IDs (5% on gold) and for each purchase, American Medical ID will give back another 10% to support PCHA’s advocacy.
To enjoy this special discount, enter the discount code PCHA upon checkout or start shopping for medical IDs here.