Creating a Senior Emergency File

Closeup of a stethoscope on a rx prescriptionDo you and your aging loved ones have a plan in place that addresses what should happen in the event of a medical emergency?

It is a topic most families avoid discussing. But it is important to ask and answer these questions while you and those you care about are still healthy enough to make educated and informed decisions.

If you live alone or if you have an elderly parent living by themselves, an emergency responder may not know your medical preferences. Who to contact. How to contact them. What medications you take. All important information they will need to know.  If you are unable to speak for yourself, it is important to keep an easily accessible file in your home for first responders and caregivers to reference.

What should be in a senior’s emergency medical file?

      • Emergency contact names and phones numbers with secondary phone numbers in the event the primary contact can’t be immediately reached

      • Medical history including known allergies and any current medications and their dosages

      • Primary care physician’s name and contact information

      • Copies of health insurance and prescriptions cards, Medicare, Medicaid information (if applicable)

      • Also have copies of your medical power of attorney, living will and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders

One piece of advice for caregivers is that many county emergency services have a resident database. It allows community residents to provide first responders with a copy of their emergency medical information. The profile can include a resident’s emergency contact person, age, medical history, primary care physician, and more. All helpful information if an emergency call is placed and the caller is unable to speak to the dispatcher.  To see if this service is available in your area, call the non-emergency phone number for your local first responders (police or fire department).

When a medical emergency arises, caregivers often feel helpless. Being prepared ahead of time can help to eliminate some of the uncertainty and fear.

St. Charles Community is Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati’s most trusted senior care partner. A faith-based, nonprofit organization, we have served elders in our community for over 50 years.