Jul 15, 2008

Medical Information at Your Fingertips

It's "hump day," so that means it's Works-For-Me Wednesday over at Rocks In My Dryer.

Years ago, my mom called me and asked me to meet her in the emergency room where my dad was being taken. At the intake desk, many questions were asked of her about my dad's medications, allergies, surgical history, etc. She was understandably shaken by the very fact she was IN the ER with her beloved, and those details needed by the medical staff did not come easily to her memory.

After that, I decided to make a medical history form for every member of the family. I made it up in Microsoft Word so it could be easily updated as necessary. The form includes the demographic info (name, address, phone, date of birth, etc.), current insurance information, name and phone number of the individuals' various doctors, all medications AND dosages being taken, allergies (SO important for health care providers to know), surgical history and even some pertinant family history. Several copies of each person's history were printed.

Then I went to the office supply and bought red file folders and marked them "MEDICAL HISTORY" on the front. The medical histories were put inside the folders. The red folders (one per household) were placed near the telephone that is used most frequently. That way it is handy if a 9-1-1 call is necessary or to grab on the way out the door in case of emergency. (When I was seeing a doctor for the first time recently, I included one of these with my new patient paperwork. The doctor commented that he "wished all of his patients were that prepared!" He's referred to that page several times on subsequent visits.)

Now ALL of the important information is in one place, and no one has to face an emotionally charged situation while counting on his/her memory to relay potentially life-saving info to caregivers. Every time I change the batteries in the smoke detectors ("spring forward" and "fall back" daylight savings times), I also review the files for any needed updates.

Here's a sample form:


GoSuze! said...

I didn't know you lived in Anytown, USA....I bet you know my cousin...she lives there, too! (You know why donkeys can't go to school???)

My in-laws have their emergency info in little plastic magnetic sleeves on their fridge door. Very easy to grab...good idea for, you know, Tulsa people.

Thanks for the great blog entry!

canearl said...

This is great! Thanks for the template- I'm going to do this today.

Pumita said...

Thanks so much for a great tip and for leaving the template! You are so organized and thoughtful!
Have a great day!

(Jim &) Brandy Brow said...


I've been meaning to do this along with making a laminated signed and dated card for each family member stating who is privy to medical information in the event the family member is unable to convey it. I'm tired of the Health Insurance Privacy Act (HIPA) where medical professionals won't tell me what's up with my gram or husband. If I had a signed (and perhaps notarized) card, it'd solve the problem.

Thanks for the reminder.

The Building Brows

Paula (SweetPea) said...

That's a great idea. Actually, I plan to visit a new doc and I thought "now Paula, you need to go through all your files and write down previous medicines and such because you know he's gonna ask."

I've printed this as a reminder to make my list.

Anonymous said...

You get ANOTHER "YOU DONE GOOD" AWARD! Reminded me that UPDATING is important too. I have some different meds, since ours last done.
Love ya, Dad

The Fires said...

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing it with us.
I have a friend who made a business card with family home phone and cell numbers and gave laminated copies to everyone including several close friends of the family. The card stores in your wallet and is easily accessible for everyone.

Anonymous said...

This is great! I just sent it to all my family asking them to fill in and put it in a red file!! Great info! THanks!
Ruby's Fairy Godmother