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.
During my first few years as a nurse, I noticed a pattern among people who came to the hospital for a health emergency. Many patients couldn’t answer basic health history questions.
Having a patient with health information easily accessible allowed us, the medical team, 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.
I realized early on the value of having important health information written down. Most importantly, having that information written down before an injury or illness.
You might not be able recall all the important information you need in a medical emergency.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself on the receiving end of those important questions in the Emergency Room with my son. The triage nurse asked me a million questions. I’m a nurse practitioner and I still found myself too overwhelmed to answer simple questions. It was a horrible, helpless feeling.
When you’re in the middle of a medical emergency, your primary concern is not recalling dates or test results. When we were at the ER that day, I was focused on my son. I felt paralyzed trying to recall all the medications he was taking or the important dates in his health history.
What if all that important information was all written down and easily accessible?
Those experiences as both a mother and a nurse taught me this: you need a place to store basic health information so you have it when you need it. When Whitney and I started talking about joining forces for A Plan for Health, the Medical Organizer was one of the first products we discussed.
A pocket-sized notebook that holds vital medical information in one, easy to access spot? It’s a no-brainer if you want to be prepared for a medical emergency!
A Medical Organizer holds vital information, including:
- Health history
- Medical provider contact information
- Insurance information
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.
We can never be fully prepared for health emergencies. But we can arm ourselves with tools that make them more manageable.
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.
- 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!
When you’re in an emergency, it can be difficult to recall all the information you may need to share with your healthcare providers. In those moments, you don’t want to worry about completing paperwork.
Allow yourself peace of mind in an emergency by having health information written down and easily accessible. It’s one of the ways you and your family can be prepared for health emergencies!