Whether preparing for, or facing a caregiving challenge, having an organized list of important medical information is key. So, take the time to document the following:
- All Physician names, identified by specialty and their contact numbers
- Copy of Medicare, or Health Insurance cards
- A list of all current medical conditions (for which you might see the above physicians)
- Medications taken, dosage, frequency, and purpose.
- Also include any over-the-counter medications or herbal, dietary supplements you take on a regular basis
- Immunization History
- Allergies: to ANY medication and to anything else, like latex, bee stings, shellfish etc.
- Emergency Contacts posted in an obvious place in the home, along with clear identification of your Medical Power of Attorney
- HIPAA Release forms completed for Medial Power of Attorney and any other key contacts you wish.
This list can prove vital in a health care crisis, and useful for planning purposes. If you, as the patient, are unable to communicate due to loss of consciousness or function, this information is critical. This data will also aid in your preparation for future issues that you may or may not have control over. It can help ensure that the best decisions for your care are being made. This list should be in an easy-to-find location, like the refrigerator, or at least a note of instruction that could direct someone to retrieve it from another location, where it should be clearly labeled.
Finally, despite being in this age of electronic medical records, your latest lab results, or physician summaries may still not be readily available, particularly in an emergency setting. If you keep a record of the most recent of these, having them in your medical “To-Go” folder, could help clarify your medical status, and perhaps avoid wasting precious time and any unnecessary re-testing. The HIPAA release form will also allow your appointed person to have access to your records and discuss status with the doctor if needed.