Prince Albert partnership making it easier for paramedics to access medical info

You can pick up In Case of Emergency (ICE) pouches at Parkland Ambulance or Lake Country Co-op pharmacies. -- Lyle Karasiuk/Submitted

Parkland Ambulance and Lake Country Co-op Pharmacies are partnering to provide pouches intended to contain critical medical information in times of emergency.

“Several years ago, one of our paramedics encountered a situation where they couldn’t get information from one of the patients,” said Lyle Karasiuk with Parkland Ambulance in Prince Albert.

“You’d be surprised at how many people we need to get that information from and find that it’s difficult.”

The In Case of Emergency (ICE) pouches would contain your name, health number, next of kin, medical conditions, drug interactions and advance care wishes.

Karasiuk said this helps paramedics and first responders access information if you can’t speak. Often, though, many patients simply don’t know this information or don’t have it readily available.

“Let’s say you’re having a stroke; let’s say you live alone in a senior’s complex and maybe one of the neighbours comes to visit you and finds you hurt, but doesn’t quite know how to reach your daughter or your son who might live out of province for next of kin.”

It’s important to keep the pouch in a visible location at home or on you, Karasiuk explained.

“Stuff it in your purse, pin it up on the fridge, whatever you can do to make it easier for our paramedics to learn about you,” he said.

It also allows paramedics to transfer that information to hospital staff. The pouches do not replace medical bracelets or advance care directives, however.

Karasiuk said it’s important to keep the form inside of the pouch accurate and up-to-date. If you need help filling it out, ask your pharmacist or another health-care provider.

You can pick up new pouches or replacement forms at Parkland Ambulance or Lake Country Co-op’s two pharmacy locations. Karasiuk said if you live outside of Prince Albert, Parkland Ambulance will mail them to you.