06 Nov Prepare for Emergencies by Creating a Health Checklist for Philadelphia Seniors
If a medical emergency occurs, every passing minute is critical. Putting a plan in place to help you be proactive in an emergency could potentially save your life or that of your elderly loved one. In the face of a pandemic with the coronavirus (covid-19) disproportionately impacting seniors and those with compromised immunity, now is the time to prepare.
How do you know what you’ll need in an emergency before it happens? We have what you need with this Emergency Health Information Guide below.
The first thing you should do is gather all pertinent information that would be needed for medical forms and intake in an urgent situation for you or your loved one. These would include your birthdate, Social Security number, and health insurance and/or Medicare information. Make a photocopy of everything and keep it in a safe place. Let other vital parties know where this information is located in case they need to access it- family members, caregivers, and other home health care workers, for example. Finally, don’t forget to include contact information for family and/or friends that can be reached and informed in case of emergency.
List of Medical Providers
Create a list of all your healthcare providers, ranging from your primary care doctor to medical specialists, including cardiologists, neurologists, etc. Be sure to include their names, phone numbers, and an outline of why you are in their care. If you have a medical emergency in which you cannot update your attending physician about your medical conditions, it is helpful for them to be able to speak to your other doctors directly to figure out the best course of action and treatment plan for your situation and health needs.
Make a list of all the dosages and instructions for all the prescription medications that you take on a regular basis. In an emergency medical situation, it’s imperative that your attending physician knows what is already in your system in order to recommend medications for you so they will interact properly. It wouldn’t hurt to also list over-the-counter (OTC) medications as well, as certain prescription medications don’t interact well with some OTC medications.
Known Allergies and Health Concerns
If you happen to have any known allergies to medications, food, or materials (such as latex, for example), it is vital to write them down and put them in an easy and accessible place during an emergency. Many people and caregivers choose to keep them listed on their refrigerator or in another highly visible way so a paramedic can find them quickly if they need to enter the house. In addition to listing any allergies to medications, it’s not a bad idea to make a list of any specific health concerns or diagnoses to be aware of before treating you, like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
If anything should happen in a medical emergency that would prevent you from being able to make decisions about your care, an advance directive or living will gives medical care providers direction about your desires. These range from your wishes about resuscitation, supported ventilation, organ donation, and more can be included in an advance directive. You can also designate someone as a power of attorney Thisl legally enables them to make difficult decisions on behalf of you if you are incapable of doing so.
Centralize all documents in one place
Once you’ve accomplished everything on this Emergency Health Information guide keep everything in one location. Regardless of how you gather and store the information, the most important thing is knowing where and how to access it easily at all times for any individuals that may need to access it. After all, all the preparation in the world won’t make a difference if no one knows where to locate it or that it is even available. Make sure to continue to update your documents as necessary to ensure that everything will go as smoothly as possible should a medical emergency occur.
By spending a little time preparing for an emergency, you can help increase the odds of a successful outcome during challenging times. The outbreak of the coronavirus should give seniors at home and their caregivers added urgency to initiate an effective health guide in case of emergency. However, once implemented, the emergency guide will come in handy long after the pandemic ends.
Count on reliable home care providers like Chosen Family to be partners in care for you or your loved one. Chosen Family Home Care can help families implement emergency preparedness plans and coordinate care between healthcare providers, right here in Philadelphia and the greater Delaware Valley of Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, and Delaware counties.