What should you have ready in case of a medical event for you or someone that you care for?

We never plan on needing emergency services, but we can plan on having some information ready in case of emergency. When you or someone in your family requires emergency care, it may be difficult or impossible to have clear information under the stress of the moment. Some advanced preparation can be a big help.

A few documents that you have prepared ahead of time, and have made copies of that you can take with you or direct a caregiver to bring to the hospital, will help you and the medical providers to give better, more individualized care.

You can complete a Care Plan ahead of time. This can include:

Demographic Information: name, address, phone number(s), email address, date of birth, age

Emergency Contacts: family, friend, care provider, neighbor, with contact phone numbers

Medical Information: List of doctors with what condition you see them for, their address and phone numbers

Medication: name of, dose, time of day you take it, date you began taking it, who prescribed it and for what condition medical condition, or diagnosis, when diagnosed, and alternate care approaches ( rest, exercise, massage therapy..) that can help with this condition.

Care Providers: Name, phone numbers for those who assist you in care. Include home care provider, transportation, adult day health, friends, neighbors, family.

Health Care Proxy: This document is completed with an elder law attorney, and lists who the medical professionals will call to discuss treatment if you are not able to speak for yourself.

MOLST form: This is completed with you primary care physician and addresses specific medical treatment questions that you would want done if you could not speak for yourself.

Health Insurance: Copies of insurance cards, and contact phone numbers

Preferences: List your preferred hospital and skilled nursing and rehab center, and geographic area

Additional information: Information that you would want people to know about you as they care for you. This can be something that is important and defining about you.

There are forms that you can use to gather and keep this information. AARP has a guide that is called Prepare to Care Guide that offers good information when making this plan.

5 Wishes is a document that you can purchase for a small fee online and it gives you and your care givers good information about what you would for medical treatment, and what is important to you.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a few forms for “Daily Care Plan” that you can use.

This can be kept on a computer (but have a copy that you can take with you) or it can be a paper file. It does not matter the format, what is important is that you thought about it ahead of time, and wrote down what is important for you and your health and care. Also that you have discussed this with your family and care providers, or gave them written guidelines for your wishes and care needs. When you give a document to the care providers in the hospital and skilled nursing and rehab center, make sure you keep your original copy of the documents.

By Sharon Connor, LCSW, C-ASWCM