Important Items and Information for the Emergency Room
The last thing on your mind in case of an emergency is what to pack, yet it can be vitally important and make a stressful time a little less so. Taking the time to be prepared can make it a little easier for everyone, and help ensure the process runs smoothly. If there’s time, call your primary care provider (most have 24 hour answering services) and let them know you are headed to the ER.
See below for tips for what to have packed in case of an emergency:
- List of Current Medications
Including the dose and the times the medication is taken.
- List of Allergies
Note any medication or food allergies, including type of reaction and intervention used such as an EpiPenŽ.
- Description of diagnoses
Keep a document of any medical conditions handy. Also include how each condition is currently being treated.
- Doctors/Specialists Names and Numbers
Take the time to compile this information, which is good to have prepared in any case. This can be helpful even for routine doctor’s visits.
- Insurance Cards/Information
A photocopy of the card is a convenient way to record this information, but the hospital may ask to see original cards.
- Photo Identification (adults and seniors)
If you care for a parent, keep a photocopy in your files in case you leave without your senior’s wallet.
- Legal Documents
If you care for an older person, keep copies of your loved one’s living will, health care proxy, and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order, if applicable. Having these documents on hand is essential in a critical situation. If you don’t know your senior’s wishes this is a great time to start the conversations as opposed to in the midst of a crisis. It is also helpful to discuss having a legal power of attorney.
- Glasses, Hearing Aid (seniors)
It’s easy to overlook these, but they’re critical to ensure clear communication and help your loved one feel more at ease. If they have spare pairs, or needs extra batteries, keep them in the bag.
It’s especially hard to remember information when stressed, so have a pad and pen handy to take notes about the medical staff’s explanation of the problem, treatment, and next steps.
- Emergency Contacts
For your parent, you’ll want to have contact information for close friends and family who may want to know about your loved one’s condition. For your child, you may want to have contact info for your child’s school and/or babysitter.
- Comfort Items
Though these should kept to a minimum to avoid clutter or confusion, a favorite book, a blanket in case it is cold, or for some, a stuffed animal, may be a welcome comfort.
Don’t forget to have some items for yourself as the caregiver, including: a book, a bottled water, a snack, sweatshirt or sweater, and cell phone charger.