Ten things we should know to help our parents in emergency situations

If your parents were to have an accident tomorrow morning, would you be able to give vital information to the emergency response team? Do you know the name of your parents’ family physician? Is your mother taking any medication? Has your father had an operation?

If your parents were to have an accident tomorrow morning, would you be able to give vital information to the emergency response team? Do you know the name of your parents’ family physician? Is your mother taking any medication? Has your father had an operation?

If you are like most people, you are unlikely to be able to answer many questions regarding your parents’ health. It may only take you a few minutes to gather this information, but it will save precious time when an emergency situation arises and your parents are unable to answer for themselves. Not only can the information given by relatives help improve the care given to a patient, it can also ensure he or she receives the treatments they want.

Here is a list of vital information to help the medical team treat your parents in an emergency situation:

1. Name of their family physician This information is probably the most important, because your parents’ regular physician is able to give ER physicians detailed information about their medical history.

2. List of allergies This is very important, especially if the individual is allergic to a particular medication.

3. Level of care desired Ideally, the person will have written a document while he or she was sound of mind, clearly indicating the type and level of care desired. Do they want to be resuscitated? Do they want the medical team to use life-support equipment? Without going into great details, relatives should know the patient’s life objectives, the quality of life he or she desires and the medical interventions wanted and unwanted.

4. Major medical problems You should know if your parents suffer from serious diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, or if they have blood coagulation problems.

5. List of current medications Ask your parents’ pharmacist to print a list of their medications on a small card so they can carry it, along with their Medicare card, in their wallets.

6. Religious beliefs This information can be important, particularly if a blood transfusion is required.

7. Insurance information You should know the name of your parents’ insurance provider and their policy numbers.

8. Prior surgeries It is important for emergency physicians to know if the patient has had, for example, bypass surgery or angioplasty.

9. Lifestyle information Do your parents smoke? What is their alcohol consumption? Do they have a varied and healthful diet? Are they physically active?

10. Organ donation In addition to adhering the label provided by the Régie de l’assurance maladie to the back of their Medicare card, individuals must also inform their families on wanting to donate their organs. No organ donation is possible without the family’s consent.

We all know that sickness and accidents happen only too quickly. So help protect your parents and gather these simple facts. By having this information on hand, you can make a great difference in the level and quality of care they receive when they are unable to fend for themselves.

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