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Broker News | Vol. 7, No. 10 | May 18, 2012
Broker News | Vol. 7, No. 10 | May 18, 2012

Five Tips for Preparing for Medical Emergencies

Please share with your employer groups:

To better prepare for a medical emergency, here are 5 tips to prepare ahead.

  1. “ICE” your phone.
    First responders often look for a cell phone, PDA or BlackBerry® on or near the patient. Some cell phones have an “ICE” or In Case of Emergency category in the contact list. If your phone doesn’t, you can easily add it. Key in *ICE as the contact name, then the phone number of the person to call. Putting an asterisk (*) in front of ICE cues it to the top of the list.

  2. Wear a medical bracelet, if needed.
    Anyone with a chronic medical condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and/or severe, life-threatening allergies, should wear a MedicAlert® or similar bracelet. Have the class of medicine or specific ailment inscribed on the bracelet after consulting your doctor.

  3. Complete a Health Care Proxy.
    Every person 18 years and older should have a Health Care Proxy on file with his/her physician. A Health Care Proxy designates who you want to make medical decisions on your behalf in case you can’t. For patients with chronic conditions and/or diseases, a MOLST form may be used. MOLST stands for Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. It’s a physician’s order sheet that summarizes the patient’s advance directives and goes with the patient wherever he/she is transferred or discharged. Visit compassionandsupport.org to learn more.

  4. Home electronic alert devices for elderly or disabled patients.
    These allow patients to live independently and give family members peace of mind. Cell or cordless phones may not be reachable in an emergency. There are several alert devices available. For example, Lifetime Care offers a Lifetime Personal Health Alert System that is available to the Monroe, Wayne, Livingston, Seneca and Cayuga counties with expansion to areas served by Sibley Nursing Personal Service planned.

  5. Keep medical information handy.
    The front of your refrigerator is a good place for health information for patients with chronic diseases or conditions. Include doctors’ names, their specialties and phone numbers, patient’s medical condition(s), medications and doses, and family names and phone numbers. You also can post the MOLST form. You may want to keep this information in an envelope marked “Confidential: In Case of Medical Emergency.”

The more information first responders have, the better they can do their jobs.

This article was contributed by William J. Montesano, Jr., MD, a board-certified family medicine doctor at Lifetime Health Medical Group’s Perinton Health Center in Rochester, who is also the medical director of Victor-Farmington Ambulance, Naples Ambulance, Fishers Fire Dept. and a Finger Lakes Emergency Medical Services Council member.

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