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Whether you are caring for yourself or someone else who has a chronic condition, keeping track of medical documents is just as important as keeping track of your health.
If you have a caregiver, take time to go over your medical documents to ensure that they will follow your care plans and support you during health emergencies.
Having the right information about yourself or a loved one’s health could save lives.
Use the following list to make sure you or a caregiver has the necessary information and documents should an emergency arise.
Emergency Medical Information
- Contact Information for all Healthcare Providers – Keep the names and phone numbers of doctors and specialists, including primary care physicians, on hand.
- Current Medications and Allergy List – Have a list of current medications to help doctors address issues related to multiple medications and risks associated with drug–drug interactions. Also keep a list of food or individual drug allergies.
- Medical Histories, Including Personal Lifestyle – Keep a list of medical conditions, past surgeries and major medical procedures. Doctors use this information to make decisions about possible future medical procedures and treatment options.
- Medical Records Access – Find out whether your loved one has signed a form that allows their doctors and insurance companies to release their medical information to you. If not, ask them to sign privacy agreements to allow you access in emergencies.
- Contact Information of Neighbors – Ask for the name and number of a trusted neighbor who can be called to check in on them and alert you if there is a problem.
- Advanced Directives, Living Wills and Goals of Care – Get the details of living wills and who’s authorized to make healthcare decisions on yours or other's behalf. Have this conversation now, rather than in the midst of a medical emergency. Initiate discussions with your loved ones regarding their end of life wishes during "dinner table" conversations rather than waiting for the "right" time.
Gathering this information and having these conversations are not easy or comfortable. But being prepared in a medical emergency of any loved one will reduce some of the stress involved.