What's On Your Keyring
It's likely we've all heard the famous Capitol One question: "What's in your wallet?" The assumption is that if you have their card on hand, you have what you need for emergencies and eventualities. Today, I'd like to pose a different question: "What's on your keyring?" With the investment of a little time and even less money, you can be sure that, from a health standpoint, you are ready for anything.
What I'm going to discuss is important, regardless of whether or not you are technically minded. I propose keeping important health documentation on a thumb drive, and attaching it to your keys for easy access whenever and wherever you need it. Of course, you don't have to go high tech, but it can make your life considerably easier. I find that with print files, things often go unidentified, get mislabeled, or never get filed in the first place. Maybe you are more organized and less "print stuff averse" than I. If that's the case, just keep the info in whatever format works for you.
If you are responsible for the care of another person, you will want to have the important info for him or her as well. You don't need a second drive; you can simply create folders for each person.
At present, my folder contains five items. If you have additional suggestions, we would welcome the opportunity to hear them and to share them with others. My own toolkit contains:
- A Living Will. These documents can vary widely, but having a living will can help determine the scope of care you receive if you are unable to speak for yourself.
- Power of Attorney Document: If you have designated a power of attorney in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself, you should include this document. These first two documents generally require some kind of signature or notorization. As a result, you will want to scan and save these documents as images. You can always use OCR to view the document yourself, but the ones you have for others should be in some sort of image format.
- Best Practices for Healthcare Professionals with Patients who are Visually Impaired: We blogged about this comprehensive document, and I find it valuable to share with hospital professionals.
- An Updated Medication List: There are a few important keywords in that item. First, a medication list isn't going to do much good if it's not up to date. Whenever you begin taking a new medication, add it to the list, and change the date to reflect the change. For example, the title of my current medication list says: October 27,2017 Medication List for Lisa Salinger." Also, if you've noticed, I call it a medication list, not a prescription list. This is because over-the-counter meds and supplements can react in unexpected ways with prescription medications, and it is important to list all of them. I first list prescription meds, then over-the-counter meds, and finally supplements. I put each category under a heading so it can be easily located. Each item should contain the name of the medication, the dosage, and the frequency and times of day it is taken.
- I don't necessarily need to keep this last document on my thumb drive, but it fits with the others, and so I do. As I have questions I want to ask my doctor, I write them down here. I may not update this document for months, but I generally look over it and make any changes before going to see my doctor.
We never plan for unexpected things to happen. This is why being prepared regardless can be so vital to maintaining good health and making it possible for needed treatment to be given as soon as possible. If you have any comments on this or any other post, please contact us; we’d love to hear from you.