At some point in your life you are likely to be a caregiver for someone or on the receiving end of caregiving. At the present time, when you are not allowed to accompany the person into the hospital to help them provide needed information, perhaps having some ready records placed where they can be easily found would be a wise way to make January/February “Get Organized Month”.
First, have a folder with the person’s medical history:
- Who is the Primary Care Provider? (We use to call them doctors way back when.)
- What medications does this person already take?
- What medical history should be known about?
- And, most important of all, who pays? Locate any insurance coverage cards
Make sure to make duplicates because you can trust these will get lost.
You will be asked if there is a living will /an advanced care directive or who has a medical power of attorney in order to make decisions if necessary. It doesn’t matter if you have already filed one with the medical practice. They are not about to search the files for this.
At home it would be good to know where to find:
- Insurance information of all kinds
- Banking and other financial information such as credit cards
- Passwords for online accounts – don’t keep them stored in your head!
- Last will & testament including any durable power of attorney
Believe me, I know whereof I speak. For the past five years I have had Durable Power of Attorney for an older sister who has dementia and is in an assisted living facility. The Powers That Be will not work with you without producing that document and, I have had ER experience with all that I have mentioned as well. I can’t imagine trying to take care of these issues while waiting in a car in the hospital parking lot.
We never expect to be the one who is being cared for but locating this information, putting it in a file folder and telling someone where it can be found might provide some peace of mind in an incredibly stressful time.
By Harriet Vaughan