HIGHLANDS and Islands (including Moray) MSP, Rhoda Grant, is encouraging people with epilepsy in the Highlands and Islands to put ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact details on their mobile phones so that if they have a seizure, the emergency services or even the general public can get in touch with their named family member or friend.
To further assist emergency personnel, Rhoda Grant has developed a pilot initiative offering free ICEberg wristbands to anyone with epilepsy.
These purple and while silicon bands identify that the wearer has an ICE contact on their mobile device.
Rhoda Grant will launch the scheme and give away purple and white ICEberg wristbands at the Epilepsy Scotland information stand at 11am on Friday 20 November outside the glass lift in the Eastgate Centre, Inverness.
Speaking about the launch of the initiative, Rhoda Grant said: “In my role as a regional MSP for the Highlands and Islands, I became aware of situations where people were found either unwell or in a distressed state in public and the attending emergency service personnel had difficulty in identifying who to contact as next of kin.
“I was also aware of individuals who ended up in A&E with staff there being unable to identify the individual who was brought in. This got me thinking that there must be something we can do to address this issue.
“We talked with Epilepsy Scotland about trialling some kind of free epilepsy ID to help in medical situations.
“My team made contact with Stagecoach Bus and were successful in being awarded funding by this company which allowed us to purchase the ICEberg epilepsy wristbands.
“Wearers can put ICE (In Case of Emergency) details into their mobile phone contacts or have an ICE app on their mobile phone screen saver.
“Should a seizure happen, emergency personnel or the public will know who to call.”
Epilepsy Scotland’s chief executive, Lesslie Young, commented: “Much like an iceberg, epilepsy and how it affects the person tends to hidden unless or until a seizure happens.
“There are over 40 kinds of seizures, and each presents itself and affects the person differently.
“Some people can fall down and become unconscious for a few minutes. Others can act in a confused or what appears to be a strange manner and be unresponsive.
“There are over 800 people living with epilepsy in Inverness alone.
“However, more than a third of them continue to have seizures even with medication so these ICEberg bands may be of great help to them.
“Hundreds of others across the Highlands and Islands could also benefit.
“Our facebook followers welcome the idea of free wristbands for people with epilepsy because of the reassurance it offers to their families, friends and colleagues.
“If an emergency arises, those dealing with the situation will realise the person has epilepsy because of this wristband.
“The ICE details can then be used to contact the person’s family quickly.”
The founder of the ICE initiative, former paramedic, Bob Brotchie, said: “Imagine ringing the police because a relative or friend has not returned home.
“In many cases they can do nothing until an adult has been missing for at least 48 hours.
“Imagine ringing the hospitals and they don’t have anyone with that person’s name, but they may have unidentified patients.
“Now, imagine what it’s like to be a paramedic, desperately trying to find the next of kin of someone having an epileptic seizure.
“This worry can be avoided by a simple action.
“Put ICE details with the person’s name and number on your mobile phone or use an ICE app to list who you’d like to be contacted in the case of an emergency.
“Having notified your ICE contact and gathered information, the medical team can then treat you appropriately.”
Russell Henderson, of Stagecoach Bus (Highland), added: “We are delighted to support community initiatives where they can and do make a positive difference to those living, working and visiting our communities.
“We wish all those connected to the ICEberg initiative well with their efforts.”
Notes to editor:
1. Press launch: a press launch will take place at 11am on Friday 20 November at the Epilepsy Scotland information stand outside the glass lift in the Eastgate Centre, Inverness. Rhoda Grant MSP will launch the ICEberg wristband initiative, with partner organisation, Epilepsy Scotland, and invited guests from Stagecoach Bus, the Scottish Ambulance Service, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Police Scotland and NHS Highland.
2. Epilepsy Scotland works with people living with epilepsy to ensure that their voice is heard. We campaign for improved healthcare, better information provision and an end to stigma. This common serious neurological condition affects one in 97 people in Scotland. We represent the 54,000 people with epilepsy, their families and carers. Our freephone Helpline (0808 800 2200) offers support and information, text 07786 209501, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, find us on facebook, twitter @epilepsy_scot or visit: www.epilepsyscotland.org.uk
3. The term ICEberg is an acronym for In Case of Emergency – be empowered, ring a guardian. The ICEberg initiative will be evaluated in its first year to see how useful it has been for emergency personnel and to people with epilepsy. Bob Brotchie is a former paramedic from East Anglia and founder of the ICE initiative in 2004. He suggested the scheme to help emergency services swiftly make contact with the next of kin of any casualty who is found to be in distress. There are now ICE apps available that store contact details and these can be used as a screen saver without the need to unlock the mobile device. People can also store ICE details under their Contacts which can be accessed when the mobile phone screen is unlocked.
4. The purple and white marble effect silicon ICEberg wrist bands can be sourced free of charge from the office of Rhoda Grant MSP, 3 Gordon Terrace, Inverness, IV2 3HD, 01463 716299, from the Sapphire Nurses (Epilepsy) at Room 43, Main Corridor, Rowans, New Craigs Hospital, 6-16 Leachkin Road, Inverness, IV3 8NP or from Epilepsy Scotland’s exhibition stand.
5. To more details please call: Allana Parker, public affairs officer: 07884 012/ 147 0141 427 4911 or Douglas Mackenzie, parliamentary and constituency manager to Rhoda Grant MSP on 01436 716299.
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Contact: Allana Parker