Planning For Emergencies

A little advance thinking can substantially minimize damaging consequences—and even save lives—in the event of an emergency.

If you’re caring for a loved one who has a particular medical condition, certain allergies, or even just a restricted diet, it’s best to be prepared in case of an emergency. Health histories and medical records covering all of your loved one’s medications and treatment are especially important. This will help paramedics, doctors, and other emergency personnel make the right decisions regarding your loved one’s emergency treatment, and it will keep your from having to remember complex information at a very stressful time—thus greatly reducing the chances of mistakes being made during an emergency situation.

Personal And Family Health History

Your loved one’s personal health history form can be used to track medications, changes in health, the medical care and procedures that he or she has had in the past, and the health histories of members of his or her family.Have your loved one keep a card-sized personal health history in his or her wallet or purse. Make sure that the information includes his or her doctor’s name and phone number, any medications that your loved one is currently taking, any allergies that he or she may have, and any pertinent medical information. (For example, does your loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or any other ailment that might effect emergency treatment?)

Urgent Or Emergency Care Centers

These centers are open long hours every day to handle problems that are not life threatening. But they are no substitute for a regular primary care doctor. If you care for a loved one with a chronic condition—and you expect that an emergency situation could arise in the future—you probably should check out the closets urgent or emergency care centers ahead of time. To make sure such facilities provide quality care, call your loved one’s health plan or visit the center to find out:

  • If the health plan will cover your loved one’s care there.
  • If it is licensed. (The accreditation certificate should be posted in the facility.)
  • How well trained and experienced the center’s health care professionals are.
  • If the center is affiliated with a hospital.

© Copyright FamilyCare America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Adapted from materials developed by the United States National Institutes of Health.

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