It has happened to all of us. We have a sudden health care problem, and need to seek help right away. We are nervous but have to make quick decisions. It would be so helpful if we had anticipated what things we would need before anything happened.
Well, here’s your chance.
1) Make sure your address is visible from the street.
Emergency vehicles don’t know your neighborhood so make sure your address number is large, and clearly visible from the street.
Consider putting up reflective numbers. One can go on your house, and another down by the curb, if you have a long driveway.
2) Know which hospital you need to go to.
If your doctor or your health plan requires that you go to a certain hospital, find out which one that is before you need to know. Not all emergency rooms are equipped to care for children equally, so if you have kids, ask your pediatrician which one is best.
Take time to research the local hospitals in your area. In my town, there are two hospitals that are equally as close but one of them is the preferred place to go.
3) Have all your numbers ready on a card.
Make several 3 x 5 cards with the typed health care information you are going to need and place them in strategic spots such as your glove box in your car, next to your main telephone in your house, one in your wallet, one at your babysitter’s house, and even one at your closest neighbor’s house if you have kids.
These cards should have your insurance information, allergy information, blood type if you know it, doctor’s names with phone numbers, and emergency contact information of other family members to call.
Leave another card, with a list of the medications and doses you take, in your wallet.
Cell phones often have spots for this type of information but it is more straightforward to hand someone a piece of paper with everything on it.
4) Call for help, especially if the emergency is you.
If you are feeling chest pain, shortness of breath, or numbness on one side of your face or body, you could be starting to have a heart attack or stroke.