Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I just read the inquiry about using a bracelet to alert caregivers about not using the surgical arm. For several years, I have been distributing alert bracelets to patients at our medical center. The bracelet we use is acceptable in the OR, whereas the National Lymphedema Network bracelet probably is not. They are also available in hot green for lower extremity cases. And best of all, they are FREE. My patients love them for the security they provide when they are not alert. Please tell your visitors about these!
Carolyn Vachani RN, MSN, AOCN, OncoLink's Nurse Educator, responds:
I'd be happy to share this information. Arm bands and alert bracelets are a great way to alert healthcare professionals to avoid using the arm for blood pressures, IVs, or blood draws. There are 2 products I know of, each with their own use.
The lymphedema alert band is produced by Peninsula Medical, the folks who make Reid compression sleeves, and is distributed free from their website (http://www.lymphedema.com/alertband.htm). They look like hospital ID bands, and as far as our operating room here at Hospital of University of Pennsylvania, these bands are allowed to be worn.
Now for the outpatient who is looking for something a bit more stylish, the National Lymphedema Network offers a more traditional, medic alert style bracelet for $18. They also offer fashionable beaded versions of the medic alert for $22. Note that our operating room would not allow either of these to be worn in the OR. These are also more likely to be overlooked by healthcare providers since they look like jewelry, but if they can serve as a reminder to the patient to remind the healthcare team, then they have served their purpose. These are both available on the National Lymphedema Network's website (http://www.lymphnet.org/). The website also features lymphedema alert necklaces for folks with lymphedema of the leg or a history of lymph node dissection of the groin.