While never pleasant, a trip to the Emergency Room can be made less stressful if you have a few vital documents on hand and ready to go at any time. If prepared, your time in the ER will decrease significantly and your quality of treatment will improve. Here is a list of documents to have ready to help minimize stress should such an occasion arise.
1 Personal Identification
For most of us, that will be your driver’s license. It has your name, your address, and age. These are all things that the admitting nurse will want to know. You could also use your passport. If you don’t have either of these items and don’t drive, you should obtain a state issued ID card. You can typically get one at the DMV.
You need to have your insurance card with you, as that will be one of the first documents that the admitting nurse will ask for. In most cases, you should just carry the card in your wallet. It’s important to have at all medical appointments, pharmacies, and other medical situations.
Have a list of all medications that you are taking, both prescription and over-the-counter. This is vital because many drugs can affect the treatments you may need. The easiest way to obtain this list is to simply type it up yourself using the information found on the labels, and have it ready before an emergency ever happens. You want to have the name of the drug (including the generic name, if available), your dose, how often you take it, and why you are taking that drug. For instance, an entry on the list a medical professional can work with would be:
Coumadin (Warfarin) 3.5mg daily – blood thinner
Multivitamin daily – general health
Do this for all your drugs. Print it on a small enough paper that you can keep it in your wallet. Knowing your medications immediately can speed up your care and make it safer. If nothing else, the grateful look your nurse will give you will reduce stress immediately.
4 Allergies and Medical Conditions
Do you have allergies? Do you have diabetes or some other medical condition? Your ER staff needs to know these things, especially if they are working to stabilize you in a life-threatening event. The list can be similar to the medication list:
Morphine allergy – Nausea/Vomiting
This document can be attached to the bottom of the drug list to help keep everything together.
5 Your Contacts
Who do you want the hospital to contact? Who is allowed to have your medical information? The staff cannot give any information out without your permission. It is easier if you have a list of your emergency contacts, including phone numbers, like this:
Jane Smith (sister) 555-555-5555
Don’t count on being able to remember your own phone number, much less that of an emergency contact in a true emergency. Even though the number is probably on a cell phone, you should probably have it on the paper in your wallet just in case. Having these things written down can really save time.
Keep all the information together on a small piece of paper in your wallet. You could also keep it on a note on your cell phone, if that works. Both is optimal and will help you fell more prepared for a medical emergency. With luck, the only time you will need to access these documents is when they need updating, but if you do, they will help ease some stress in the ER.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing about home and family and spending time with her dog, Max. Information credit to Abes, Post secondary schools in Edmonton