Today is the first day of Summer! So exciting! However, with Summer sometimes comes emergency room visits - heat stroke, broken bones, severe cuts, head trauma, etc.
Are you prepared for that trip to the Emergency Room of your local hospital? Here are five things you should have ready to go:
1. Your medications - "It is extremely important to know all of the medications you take, how often you take them, the dosage and when you took them last." according to Barb Taubenberger, RN, director of Emergency Services at Doylestown Hospital. Keep this information in your wallet or purse for easy reference. Usually a small index card will suffice.
2. Your insurance information - In an emergency situation, a hospital will treat you whether you have your insurance card or not but carrying it with you will save you from having to make numerous phone calls afterwards to work out the billing. If you are not currently insured, let the hospital know before you leave so they can connect you with a financial counselor who will help you in making payment arrangements for your bill.
3. Your medical history - Knowing your medical history helps to create a complete overview. If your primary physician is on staff at the hospital or if you have been treated at that particular hospital before, they will be able to pull up your records on the computer. If not, you will be asked about your medical history at triage. Include previous surgeries, allergies or other chronic conditions you have.
4. Your emergency contacts - Have a list of your emergency contacts easily accessible. If you do not have contact information with you, it is a challenge for the staff. Elderly patients, for example, might be transported by ambulance and need a ride home. They might not remember their contact information details of the person who would be driving them home. Creating an emergency contact list and placing it in your wallet or putting it in your cell phone under "ICE" (in case of emergency) is a helpful tool to use.
5. Your discharge instructions - Sometimes, upon discharge, you are not feeling well and might have forgotten the details of your discharge instructions or the fact that you need to transfer your medical records. Some hospitals are equipped with a central phone number to call. Be sure to ask for this information upon discharge.
I certainly hope that you have a safe and healthy Summer, but just in case, this information will help to make the emergency room experience more organized and less stressful.
Have a great week!