Do you have a “go bag” ready to grab at a moment’s notice in case of a natural disaster? What about in the case of a medical emergency? Here is a checklist of items that every good hospital go bag should have:
- A folder with your advanced directive for health care. Multiple legal documents fall under this category. For you, this could be a power of attorney with health care powers, an appointment of a health care representative and/or a living will. If you have prepared one, the folder should also contain your POST (physician orders for scope of treatment) form.
- A typed or clearly written list of current medications, with the name of the medication, dosage, and any other instructions for administering them, such as the time of day they are to be taken. After consulting with the prescribing physician or your pharmacist, consider including a week’s supply of your meds; these must be clearly identified and replaced according to your doctor’s or pharmacist’s instructions.
- The name and contact information of your primary care physician. If he or she has an emergency phone number, include it.
- Copies of your driver’s license, passport, Medicare, supplemental insurance and prescription plan cards.
- An up-to-date list of emergency contacts with phone numbers.
- If you have an implanted device such as a pacemaker (or any vital medical device), include a copy of the pocket information card with the brand, model number, MRI compatibility, etc.
- Extra batteries for hearing aids or other devices.
- A toothbrush, toothpaste, underwear, socks, any other personal items you don’t like to live without, such as hair products or lip balm, and one change of clothes and shoes.
- Other medical necessities like eyeglasses, contact lenses, contacts case, contact solution, prescription eye drops or an inhaler.
- The password to your cell phone. It is possible that you could be unconscious or unable to communicate your password when you are first admitted to the hospital.
- A spare cell phone charger.
- Your checking account number and a photocopy of both sides of one credit card.
It is a good practice to pack a bag of this sort and regularly check the contents to see if any updates are needed. Of course, your list of medications should be updated any time a medication or dosage is changed. The same goes for your emergency contact list and physician contact information (if it changes, update the paperwork in your go bag). Having put together all of the above items can save you and your family from some stress during a medical emergency.