Older Americans, especially those living alone, are responsible for keeping their medical documents in order. One easy way to do that is to create a do-it-yourself medical folder containing all pertinent health information. This is especially handy should a health emergency arise. Buy a clear file folder and tape it to the back of your door so it is easy to grab if ever needed. The folder should contain all or some of the following information (plus anything additional you want medical professionals to know).
- Emergency contact person
- Physician’s info (including specialists you see)
- Recent Photo ID with identifying information
- Medical insurance and employer info.
- List of health conditions/surgeries/treatments/hospitalizations/recent illnesses
- List of allergies (medical/food/other)
- List of medications (dosages/pharmacy)
- Immunization records
- Age, height, weight, blood type
- Recent and most updated lab work
- Power of attorney or DNR paperwork (if applicable)
Let a trusted person in your life know where you keep your emergency medical folder. Safeguard other important documents in secure locations, such as a safe deposit box. Be sure to update your medical file as needed and maintain your information, so it is current. Being prepared for an emergency can take the stress off you, a loved one, or a friend during a critical health period. Plus, it will give you peace of mind knowing that should an emergency arise, the medical personnel who treat you will fully understand your background to provide the absolute best treatment and care.
It is helpful to retain additional copies of your medical documents in a secure digital backup, a safe, or in a fire and waterproof document holder.