Bonnie Breckenridge of the Kent Harrison senior social society places a container from her new orange bottle program on top of the refrigerator

Simple prescription for saving lives

Program offers an easy way to keep vital medical information within reach

Greg Laychak, The Observer

Bonnie Breckenridge had a scare this past summer that has launched her on a mission.

After her husband had a medical issue in July, the secretary for the Kent Harrison senior social society started to think seriously about paramedic access to medication information.

“We had to call the paramedics, and ‘OK, what medication is he on?’” she says the emergency workers asked. “I named them off. ‘Would you go get them?’”

Breckenridge put them on the coffee table so the paramedics could read and see them, but she realized that her husband probably wouldn’t be able to do the same thing if their roles had been reversed.

So that set her off on her latest project: to reach as many 55-plus area residents as possible to implement her Orange Bottle program.

“You just put this on top of your fridge, there it is,” Breckenridge says holding a standard plastic pharmacy medication container that she imagines full of a participant’s currently prescribed medications along with all of their critical health information.

A magnet on the refrigerator indicates the bottle is up there.

The idea is that friends, family and first responders will know to look on the refrigerator immediately for the one-stop pill holder if there’s an emergency where the person involved is unable to communicate.

“Especially if they’re on their own,” Breckenridge says. “Let’s say they blank out or go into a coma or have heart issues, or fall.”

Then first responders will quickly know everything they need to and have access to the individual’s medication.

Breckenridge hopes the program grabs with the community, with seniors adopting it and others being aware of the bottles in case they are present during or after a health incident.

She and her crew of three helpers are still looking for donations to cover the costs of the program and materials and is covering the Agassiz Harrison area including Harrison Mills and Seabird Island.

The program will initially be rolled out to 200 participants, but will hopefully increase to 600 and beyond according to Breckenridge.

Other areas in B.C. have implemented similar programs successfully, including Mission and Hope she says.

Based on positive experiences demonstrated in other jurisdictions within B.C, local first responders have endorsed the concept for implementation in the community and several local businesses have shown support by supplying equipment and services, Breckenridge says.

The orange bottles will be distributed without charge to seniors attending the launch on Nov. 12 at the Kent Harrison Senior Social Centre Society/BC Old Age Pensioners’ Branch 113 annual fall dinner at Friendship House in Agassiz.

Participants will also receive a fridge magnet and instructions on how the two items, when combined with an individual’s personal medical history can assist first responders in their assessment.

For more information call Friendship House at 604-796-3422.