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Missing Persons… How QR Codes can Help Keep Track When Dementia Sufferers Wander Astray

In my last post, I shared with you my experience of supraventricular tachycardia, a heart rhythm related medical condition that I’ve suffered with for some years now.

I spoke about how there are certain things bystanders can do to help me when I experience an episode where my heart rate soars to almost double what it should be. But that it can be very challenging for me to communicate those things when I’m struggling for breath and my heart is racing. This often leads to panic setting in for anyone I’m with who isn’t familiar with the whole situation.

So I designed an emergency QR code that I’ve stuck on the back of my phone, which I offer up to anyone who may be panicking during one of my episodes. The code tells them what they can do to help me, reassuring them that I know what’s going on and will let them know if I need an ambulance.

When loved ones go missing…

The idea for Bangl QR codes (and my original Bangl wearable technology idea) stemmed from an experience I had years ago when my grandad went missing. He was an Alzheimer’s sufferer, and had gone walkabout for almost a day without trace.

Thankfully, he was eventually found, a little sunburnt maybe but alive and, for the most part, well.

I always thought that maybe, just maybe, if he’d had some form of ID on his person that would have been easily seen, then someone may have been able to intervene and Grandad would have been found sooner.

The thing is that it’s fairly easy to spot someone in distress. But a lot of people are reluctant to root through someone’s pockets in search of ID. It’s hardly dignified for the person in question, and can look somewhat suspect for the person doing the searching.

And that’s why I came up with the Bangl identity bracelet concept, which has now evolved into digital identity QR code stickers.

If someone is bearing one of these digital identity QR code stickers, labels or cards, whoever comes across them can simply scan the code with their smartphone, and instantly access contact details for their next of kin, as well as background information as to their state of health and any other medical conditions they may need to look out for (hugely useful for first responders too).

“70% of people with dementia may go missing at least once”

According to the University of East Anglia, around 70% of people with dementia may go missing at least once, with some at risk of going missing multiple times. And the figure is likely to grow in line with the projected increase in the numbers of those being diagnosed with the condition.

Most instances occur totally out of the blue, whilst the person is doing routine activities such as walking the dog or going to the local shop for a newspaper.

The worrying thing is that the consequences for that person can be life threatening. And the effect on families for that period of time when they have no idea of the whereabouts of their vulnerable loved one can be traumatic.

I’m eternally grateful that my grandad was returned home to us in good shape. But it could have been a different story, which is why I’m keen to get the message across that digital identity QR codes are the way forward for anyone suffering this kind of condition who may be likely to go missing.

Could someone you care for benefit from a digital identity QR code?

Bangl digital identity QR codes provide a safety net for dementia sufferers, and reassurance for those who care for them.

First published: 17th April 2023 | Author: Anthony Kirrane.
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