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#103501 - 08/25/07 07:41 AM Equipped to Survive: A trip to the ER
KG2V Offline

Veteran

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
Here are some thoughts on "surviving" a trip to your hospitals Emergency Room. Not necessarily YOUR trip, but a trip of a loved one.

As many of you know, my Mom just died after a long illness (lung cancer), and my Dad is not in the greatest of health. Over the last 18 months or so, I've probably been in the ER with one or the other nearly a dozen times. (Latest was yesterday - Dad is OK).

First - BE PREPARED to take them to the ER, or have them taken to the ER. By prepared, the Ambulance crew is going to want a few things: Their Name, Birth date (age), what medications they are taking, and known illnesses. Having this information written down ahead of time is going to save the crew a LOT of time, and they will be real happy to get it. Also, on the list - put down the names and phone numbers of their doctors (BTW, do this for yourself, your spouse and kids too).

Sometimes a simple "Oh - he has a pacemaker" can prevent them from scheduling an MRI. Or a "Hey, he has Paget's syndrome" can prevent days of worry over shadows found on his bones during a cat scan (No - it's NOT bone cancer)

So, where do you KEEP this information? Mom's Hospice folks as well as the NYC EMS crews ALL have said the same thing - put it in an envelope, and stick it to their refrigerator - with BIG letters. If they call 911, and can't tell the crew what is going on, the crew is going to check the kitchen for medicines - particularly the refrigerator for drugs that need to be kept cold. When they see the envelope - they WILL check it. It's SOP for the crews. IF there is a DNR - keep it outside the envelope, in plain site. (BTW in NY state, DNR orders have to be renewed I think it's every 30 days, and approved by an MD)

You should also keep a copy of this information where YOU can get at it. Towards the end with Mom, I actually kept copies with me at ALL times. You could get the call that they need you at the ER when you're NOT at home.

I hope all of you keep your basic medical information with you - in your wallet - your MD, your drug list, and any known problems. It can save some real problems if YOU end up in the hospital, and can make life easier even if it's just a visit to a new MD - just hand him the paper.
_________________________
73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

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#103505 - 08/25/07 08:14 AM Re: Equipped to Survive: A trip to the ER [Re: KG2V]
Sventek Offline
Newbie

Registered: 06/23/07
Posts: 26
Loc: Kailua, Hawai'i
Just when I thought I was prepared for anything...

Thanks for the great adivce(the envelope in the fridge is a really interesting idea). I'm gonna have to start thinking about doing this for my wife and I.

Sorry about your mother and father. Good luck during these hard times.

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#103506 - 08/25/07 09:09 AM Re: Equipped to Survive: A trip to the ER [Re: KG2V]
JIM Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 1032
Loc: The Netherlands
S= Symptoms and signes
A= Allergies
M= Medication
P= Patients historie (known illnesses, etc.)
L= Last meal
E= Event (what has happened)
_________________________
''It's time for Plan B...'' ''We have a Plan B?'' ''No, but it's time for one.'' -Stargate SG-1

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#103517 - 08/25/07 12:44 PM Re: Equipped to Survive: A trip to the ER [Re: KG2V]
xbanker Offline
Addict

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 484
Loc: Anthem, AZ USA
kc2ixe -

+1 on everything you said. Received the same advice (DNR on the 'fridge etc.) when faced with near-identical situation in California earlier this year. Helped to keep things organized and under control, particularly when there are multiple siblings involved.

Related: Unpleasant though it is, when the family member is terminally-ill, good idea early-on to locate and review other documents like wills, trusts (and pour-over will), life insurance policies, deeds, bank account/safe deposit info, durable POA etc. to make sure a) you locate everything, and b) all are legally up to par.

You mentioned hospice. A plug for those folks they do amazing work.

Dan
_________________________
"Things that have never happened before happen all the time." Scott Sagan, The Limits of Safety

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#103523 - 08/25/07 01:14 PM Re: Equipped to Survive: A trip to the ER [Re: KG2V]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
Sorry about your folks. We went thru that three times in three years, so I can feel your pain. Be advised that, at least in our case, a hospital may not recognize a DNR unless it is done on THEIR form. Done by an attorney did not impress one hospital we dealt with at all, it was their form or nothing. Just one more thing to make an unpleasant situation a little more unpleasant...
_________________________
OBG

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#103543 - 08/25/07 05:53 PM Re: Equipped to Survive: A trip to the ER [Re: KG2V]
samhain Offline
Addict

Registered: 11/30/05
Posts: 598
Loc: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I'm sorry as well about your parents.

You're absolutely right about keeping medical information handy.

We had had folks in our hospital being evac'd out of NOLA after Katrina with only the clothes on their back.

Even if they could tell us who their docs were, the docs offices were destroyed as were any records and many older folks can only tell you; "I take a sugar pill, and my fluid pill, and the little white pill for my heart...." and that kind of report is the best you can hope for in the best of conditions. Add stress to the mix and you can only guess what kind of history you'll get.

I used the business card format in Word to make a medical information card for myself, wife, and child importing a photo onto it as well.

Included on the photo side is name, allergies, any metal implants, Physician and number, and list of meds and emergency contact numbers and last tetanus booster.

On the back is our meeting places for outside the neighborhood, city, state to act as a reminder where we are to meet.

The cards are kept with our drivers licenses in our wallets.

_________________________
peace,
samhain autumnwood

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#103550 - 08/25/07 07:27 PM Re: Equipped to Survive: A trip to the ER [Re: xbanker]
KG2V Offline

Veteran

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
Originally Posted By: xbanker
kc2ixe -

...snip... Related: Unpleasant though it is, when the family member is terminally-ill, good idea early-on to locate and review other documents like wills, trusts (and pour-over will), life insurance policies, deeds, bank account/safe deposit info, durable POA etc. to make sure a) you locate everything, and b) all are legally up to par.

You mentioned hospice. A plug for those folks they do amazing work.

Dan


+1 on those docs - they were, and still are in the file cabinet behind me - and since I was a teen, knew where they were in the house - in the fireproof bankers file cabinet
_________________________
73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

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#103560 - 08/25/07 09:18 PM Re: Equipped to Survive: A trip to the ER [Re: samhain]
ZenEngineer Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/15/06
Posts: 86
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: samhain

I used the business card format in Word to make a medical information card for myself, wife, and child importing a photo onto it as well.

Included on the photo side is name, allergies, any metal implants, Physician and number, and list of meds and emergency contact numbers and last tetanus booster.

On the back is our meeting places for outside the neighborhood, city, state to act as a reminder where we are to meet.

The cards are kept with our drivers licenses in our wallets.


Could you show a picture of one of these cards? Or generic version without your actual info?

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#103571 - 08/26/07 12:29 AM Re: Equipped to Survive: A trip to the ER [Re: ZenEngineer]
Chuck Offline
Stranger

Registered: 02/24/07
Posts: 19
Loc: Summerville South Carolina
Thanks for the great post. Sorry to hear about your folks.
What you suggest is great advice. As an ER nurse I really appreciate it when people do this. It makes my job and your care much faster, easier and more appropriate as it is very easy to forget important items when stressed. And a visit to the ER can be very stressful.
Most people tell us that their information is "on the computer" Well it may be but in many cases we would like to start the patient's care immediately rather than spend 15 to 20 minutes reading through page after page of doctor's notes on the computer. And if you are not normally seen at our facility it can take well over an hour to contact your regular hospital and have the records faxed.
I always tell patients and family members to wright everything down and have all family members carry a copy but most never heed my advice, perhaps they will listen to you. I hope so.

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#103600 - 08/26/07 12:46 PM Re: Equipped to Survive: A trip to the ER [Re: samhain]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...I used the business card format..."

Now that is a great idea! I have all of our medical history that we can remember typed onto a plain old piece of paper, given our ages and past history, it is a FULL page for each of us. Not sure we can get it all on a business card, even with a tiny font, but for you youngsters that is a 'why didn't I think of that?" idea...
_________________________
OBG

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