Anne Meader, project executive and chief executive of Carers Together, outlines her recent experiences of how having a Personal Profile can help in an emergency.
“I was a reasonably healthy adult with some knowledge of health and social care due to my working life and a long term health condition. Through my experiences I had a burning ambition to improve people’s experience of care by preventing people having to keep repeating themselves to different professionals and give the same information over and over again.
“This is particularly difficult when in crisis, under stress or when taken ill suddenly.
“As part of the CAFA project we had started the process of developing the Personal Profile – to support the aim of reducing the number of times you have to repeat your basic information.
“On 1 October 2009 I completed the draft form to see how it flowed and whether it felt right, how it looked when completed. On 2 October I walked into a room with a friend and there was a sudden ‘crack’. I didn’t know what had happened but I knew it was serious – the pain in my back was excruciating and I could not move without agony.
“The ambulance was called and they immediately gave me gas and air so I could lie down. They asked me questions. By this time there were other people there – and when the ambulance man asked my name they all answered correctly, when he asked my age they all answered and gave a different answer!
“If I hadn’t been in pain it would have been funny – my voice was squeaky and I was floating. I knew I had the completed form with me – and having looked up all the info the night before it was also fresh in my mind. It helped to fill in the questions from the ambulance man and the doctor in A and E. This was really helpful to them and me, but it would have been brilliant if it had been available on the computer system at the hospital when people are admitted – or available to ambulance control when they were called.
“Some months later, I was admitted to hospital to have an operation. I had updated the information on the form and saved it on my computer. The day before I went into hospital I printed off copies. Interestingly, I was asked five times in the ward for my information - receptionist, nurse, anaesthetist, pharmacist, registrar. So I passed the Personal Profile to them - which saved time and money as well as my stress levels prior to the operation.
“The pharmacist found it very useful as I had listed all my medication and she found it equally useful when I was discharged. The day I was being discharged she asked if she could assume that as I had listed all the medication I had a supply at home. When I replied yes she was able to sign off the discharge quickly and easily and I could go .
“My GP found the Personal Profile useful and asked for a copy to go on his file. Because I updated it after each hospital visit he had up to date information quickly whereas he waited several weeks for a report from the hospital. It also helped me to keep in control of my information and to ensure it was correct each time I was asked to repeat it.”