by Kim Keller
Here’s a great tip: We keep a list of our mom’s vital health information pinned by magnet to her refrigerator door. We include all the information that would be necessary in case of emergency, such as an EMT visit in the middle of the night.
What sort of information might be critical for a paramedic to know? I’m glad you asked.
- Birth Date
- Medication List (keep this list current and remember to include all over-the-counter drugs as well)
- Known Allergies
- Medical Conditions (include year of diagnosis — for example: Parkinson’s disease, 2009)
- Other Important Information (for example: has a pacemaker; wears dentures; or important test results like a copy of a recent EKG)
- List of Doctors and their Contact Information
- Emergency Contact Information
- Advance Directive Information (Living Will; Do Not Resuscitate [“DNR”] documentation)
- Insurance Information
- A Recent Picture
Our mom has her information in a plastic sleeve that’s attached by a magnet hook on her refrigerator door, and she has a little sticker in the window by her front door alerting EMT workers of the location of this critical information. (Yep, that’s our mom’s shadow in the accompanying photo taking the picture for everyone!) Our mom got the sticker and health information questionnaire to complete when we signed her up for a medical alert button for emergencies (which is another great tip!). You can also order a free “vial of life” kit on-line from www.vialoflife.com. The kit provides you with the sticker, the health information questionnaire, the list of additional items (mentioned above) to collect and the plastic bag, which keeps all the health information together and ready to place on your parent’s refrigerator door.
Karen and I feel so much better knowing that our mom’s critical health information is easily accessible to those who would be trying to help her in case of an emergency.