Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by Johna Jenkins, a nurse practitioner, and the co-founder of our sister brand A Plan for Health.
My first several years of working as a nurse included taking information from people who had come to the hospital. Most often these visits were due to a serious injury or illness. After asking my questions over and over I noticed a pattern. Many patients simply couldn’t answer the questions.
Patients didn’t feel well enough to answer, couldn’t remember details, or were too worried or scared to recall the simple, but vital information. They were lost and needed to be focusing on themselves. There had to be a way to bridge the gap.
That’s when I realized the value of having important health information written down before an injury or illness. Having a patient with health information easily accessible allowed us to give more timely care. The patient or their loved ones spent less time tracking down answers, and more time focusing on what mattered most.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself on the receiving end of those important questions in the Emergency Room with my son. Picture this: it’s your worst nightmare. Your child is in the ER and the triage nurse is asking you a million questions. You are too overwhelmed to remember answers to simple questions. It’s a horrible, helpless feeling.
I’m a nurse practitioner! I know the importance of the questions. I even know the answers. But I’m flustered and stressed. I’m worried about my son and focused on him, not recalling all the medications he’s taking or the important dates in his health history.
You need a place to store basic health information so you have it when you need it. The Medical Organizer is a pocket-sized notebook that holds vital medical information in one, easy to access spot.
- Health history
- Medical provider contact information
- Insurance information
- & more!
Get a medical organizer now so you have one less thing to worry about in an emergency. Be prepared. I promise you will thank yourself later.
I encourage everyone in your family to have their own Medical Organizer notebook. Similar to a passport, everyone needs their own health notebook. Each of your loved ones has their own medical history, diagnoses, and medications. This notebook can also grow with them! I have one for myself, my husband, my son, and each one of my parents. This is an incredible tool for those of you in a caretaking role!
While any notebook will work, we have one specifically designed for this purpose! Click here to shop the Medical Organizer Notebook from A plan for Health.
Here are a few tips when filling out your Medical Organizer or creating your own.
- Create a list of important contacts; be sure to note people who would be designated to help in certain situations. Make sure that you make clear in what order you would like people contacted. Some examples include:
— Who can pick up kids from school
— Who has key to house
— Who can let out/take care of pet
— Who can get mail/packages
— Who will pay bills/manage checking account
— Church pastor
— Small group leader
— Prayer chain contact
— Best friend
- Make sure your caregiver knows at all times where your medical organizer is located. In some instances, it may be wise to keep an additional copy of your medical organizer with your caregiver or Durable Medical Power of Attorney. This way, if you are taken to the hospital via ambulance, your DPOAH can meet you at the hospital and bring their copy with them.
- Keep a blank sticky note in the front of the medical organizer; if you need to update some information but cannot take the time to thoroughly do so at the moment, you can jot down a reminder to update a certain topic later.
- Consider making a front and back copy of your insurance cards (and possibly ID if kept in a safe location) and clip them inside your medical organizer. If you ever lose or forget your cards, copies are there for you to use at your appointments.
- Consider making a list all of the things that need to be packed in case of a trip or hospital stay, and note their locations. If someone needs to come pack a bag for you, this will make both of your lives so much easier!
It has been my experience, as both patient and caregiver, that when you’re in an emergency room or exam room—often times of crisis and stress—it can be difficult to recall a lot of health information. In those moments, you won’t want to focus on or worry about completing paperwork.
Allow yourself to be preoccupied with the care and wellbeing of your loved one or yourself in an emergency. Give yourself this gift with a Medical Organizer!