Hospital Go Bag: What’s in Yours?
Having your ducks in a row in the event a loved one needs to go to the hospital unexpectedly can make a huge difference in everyone’s stress level. What are the things they may need? What are the things you may need? Some things are naturally personal preference, but other things are necessities. Here are our suggestions for what to have ready if your loved one needs to go to the hospital unexpectedly.
Be prepared to be able to provide at least the basic information medical professionals will need to evaluate and treat your loved one. The File of Life is a form that most emergency responders know to look for and is usually kept in a brightly colored folder stuck to the refrigerator labeled File of Life. However it is kept, this information should include:
- List of any existing conditions or chronic illnesses
- Current medications (including over-the-counter medications they take regularly) with dosages and schedule
- Allergies to any medications and food sensitivities
- Regular healthcare providers (names and phone numbers), including the primary care physician and any specialists, along with the specific conditions each specialist is addressing.
- Special dietary considerations, including low sodium, gluten-free, kosher, vegetarian
- Communication issues. Does your loved one become confused easily or do they have a speech or hearing impairment? Are they more comfortable speaking in a language other than English?
- Your contact information, including your name and relationship. The emergency contact information, including mobile phone numbers, for another trusted family member or friend.
In addition to being able to provide the correct information, you should have copies of important documents with the File of Life or otherwise easily accessible.
- Insurance card (front and back, as authorization numbers often are on the reverse)
- Medicare/Medicaid card
- Medical power of attorney/Healthcare Proxy
- Durable power of attorney
- Do-not-resuscitate order (DNR)
- Living Will
You also might consider things that might feel really important if they are missed. I can’t see anything without my glasses! This absolutely includes a phone charger. It may also include things like eyeglasses, a small amount of cash for a vending machine, or a warm sweater.
Do you have thoughts and ideas on what should be in a hospital go bag?