One evening in late 2016, I began having chest pains. I tried to ignore them for a while, but they began to get worse. And since I have a family history of heart disease, I decided it was time to stop messing around. I asked why husband to call 911.
When the paramedics arrived, the first thing they asked was “What medications do you take?” My husband did not have a clue! And to make matters worse, my medications and supplements are in the kitchen, in my bedside table or in the bathroom, depending on when I take them. So even if he knew where some of them were, he would not have been able to give them a complete list.
Thank goodness, I was conscious. I could tell the paramedics what I medications I took. But that was THIS time. What if it happened again and I couldn’t tell them?
So next day (chest pain subsided, EKG OK, I was fine and cleared by my cardiologist), I made a list of all my medications and taped them to the inside of a kitchen cabinet door and let everyone in my family know where that list was.
While keeping a list of medications in a place where they can be found is a great first step, there is lots of other information medical personnel need to get you admitted quickly and treated correctly in an emergency
So, I put together a checklist you should have of what goes in a Medical Grab and Go Folder*.
*This information is for informational purposes only and should not take the place of the advice of a medical or legal professional.
Medical Grab and Go Folder – Your Emergency Health Information
You can put this information in a folder. I actually put this information in a 3-ring binder. One binder for me and one for my husband.
Here is what is included:
- Full legal name
- Date of Birth
- Date folder was created (or updated)
- Contact person(s) name and phone number
- Blood Type
- Driver’s License
- Medicare/Health Insurance Card (front & back)
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Advance Directive/Living Will
- HIPPA Form (Medical Records Release)
- Immunizations (dates of original immunization and boosters)
- Names of all doctors, phone numbers and specialty
- Prescriptions: Name of medication, dosage, time of day taken, prescribing doctor.
- Medication taken as needed i.e. for pain or sleep. Not taken every day.
- All over the counter medication AND supplements. Name, dosage and time of day taken. Don’t skip this. If you need surgery, some of these medications may need to be stopped.
- If you smoked, how much and how long?
- If you drink alcohol, how much and how long?
- Hard of hearing or wear hearing aids?
- Dentures or partial plates?
- Glasses or contacts?
- Any kind of implants?
- Recent falls?
- Surgeries and illnesses – what and when
- Procedures like colonoscopy, mammogram, bone density. Date and results.
Family History (includes parents, siblings and grandparents)
- Major illnesses
- If they are deceased, cause of death and age they died.
Emergency Health Information – Keep it updated.
It takes a while to compile all this information. But it won’t do you much good if you don’t keep it up to date. I recommend that you update it any time there is a change. Or at least put it on your calendar to look it over and make updates once a month.
Emergency Health Information – Online Options
There are a number of apps that will store this information online for you. Insurance companies and some medical networks provide this. Having online access for yourself or for family members who don’t live with you is a good idea.
Bottom line – compile your medical information in one place so that you have it. Nobody plans for an emergency, by it happens. And this information will help the doctors give you the best possible care.
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