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Yellow box for over-65s could save lives
The city of Ghent has launched a trial system to improve response times in emergency situations involving the elderly: a yellow plastic box that’s kept in the fridge.
The box contains personal and medical information, as well as contact details of next of kin, and is intended to be used by the over-65s and those who have a chronic illness. By storing the box in the door of the fridge, help services will know where to find crucial information in an emergency or if a person with dementia goes missing, saving valuable time.
“Experience shows that when over-65s are in distress or go missing, a lot of time is lost before emergency services are able to find the information they need,” said Rudy Coddens, city councillor responsible for social policy, health, care and the elderly. “With the yellow box, they’ll find everything they need straight away, to be able to help in emergency situations. Time is a crucial factor. The yellow box is a simple but efficient method that can save lives.”
The box contains a folder in which the person can note their personal information, next of kin’s contact details and medical information such as allergies and medication schedule. To avoid pets being left behind alone if their owner is taken to hospital, contact details for a person or shelter who can look after them are also included.
“Thanks to the yellow box, our help services can act more quickly and efficiently if someone is missing,” said mayor Mathias De Clercq. “The information is the box simplifies the search and gains crucial time.”
The system has begun as a trial project in the Ledebergdistrict, where almost 14% of the population is aged 65 or over. They have all received a letter explaining the system and inviting them to claim their box from the local service centre De Knoop or at pharmacies.
At De Knoop, people can also get help filling in their personal details; for support with medical information they are advised to see their GP.
If the project is a success, it will be rolled out to the other districts of Ghent. In the city as a whole, one in six people is aged over 65.