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Charity kits out patients with life-saving messages in a bottle

10 Jul 2018 12:11:45
Operations Team bottles

The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust has re-launched its life-saving Message in a Bottle scheme to help provide emergency services with crucial medical information about elderly and vulnerable patients.

Thanks to £2,000 funding from the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity, Trust colleagues are now able to distribute Message in a Bottle kits free of charge.

The kits include a small plastic bottle containing a ‘How to Support Me’ document which details a patient’s condition, medication, allergies, phobias, psychological needs, next of kin and GP contact details. A sticker placed on the patient’s fridge highlights to emergency service personnel or healthcare support workers that they are part of the scheme.

Helen Green, Head of Nursing for the Operations Team, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to the Charity for funding a supply of 1000 Message in a Bottle kits because they really do help us to go above and beyond for our patients. 

“Patients often come into hospital with very little personal information or find it difficult to communicate the details we need. The bottles are such a simple, low cost idea designed to encourage people to keep all their basic personal and medical information in one place. It means we can provide the right care, much quicker and it is particularly useful for those with long-term conditions of life-threatening illnesses. 

“They are also popular with emergency services, Rothercare and carers from Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council which is reassuring for patients and useful for medical professionals who value working closely together.

“It’s not only a potential lifesaver, but also provides peace of mind to frail, elderly or vulnerable patients.”

The Message in a Bottle scheme was initially introduced across the UK by Lions Club International. The number of bottles available depends upon the amount of fundraising and donations they receive. 

The bottles are already being distributed by the Trust’s Care Coordination Centre and Integrated Discharge Team. 

Barry Mellor, Chair of the Charitable Funds Committee, said: “The Charity’s support for the Message in a Bottle scheme will hopefully mean it goes from strength to strength in Rotherham. 

“Although no one likes to think about needing to go into hospital, it’s such a simple and effective way of helping patients feel reassured that they are well prepared if they need to do so. We hope the information included in the bottles will also help our colleagues to continue to treat patients quickly and to facilitate their discharge home too.”

For more information about the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity please contact Suzanne Rutter on 01709 426821 or via Charity@rothgen.nhs.uk