Disaster Preparedness: Preparing your Medical Records for Emergencies

Step 2 in disaster preparedness – your medical records: Internet ScamBusters #168

Today we continue our three-part series on disaster preparedness.

Disaster Preparedness: Preparing your Medical Records for Emergencies

Awhile back we began our three-part series on disaster preparedness with an overview of how to prepare for a quick getaway. If you haven’t yet seen this emergency preparedness article, we recommend you check it out now. Today we’re going to focus on preparing your family’s medical records. After all, if you find yourself in the middle of a disaster, you may need to get out of your home quickly. When you go, you want to make sure your medical records go with you.

If you leave your home without your medical records, you may find yourself in a lot of trouble should you need them, especially if you have a medical condition. Without your medical records, you may not be able to get the prescriptions you need or the care that you require should disaster strike.

So how do you prepare for the worst? Preparing to have your medical records ready at a moment’s notice isn’t as hard as it sounds. There are a number of ways to keep your medical records in order and a couple of products that can help you do just that. The first step in keeping your medical information together is creating a list of the prescription medications for each family member. Should you need to leave your home, you’ll want to have a list of your prescription numbers, the names of the medication, dosages, and where the prescriptions can be filled (including phone numbers) in case you need to get a refill.

Also keep your doctors’ information on you in a safe place, along with your health insurance information. If you need to go to a hospital, the hospital will need this information should they have to admit you to the ER or to an in-patient room. Keep all of this information on a file on your computer and back it up to a USB drive or a flash memory card. This will ensure that your information is portable and you can take it with you if you have to leave quickly.

We also recommend you keep a copy printed out in your wallet. (You can use small type if there is a lot of info to get it all on one page.) Update this list as frequently as needed — it could literally save your life. If you have a serious medical condition, there are bracelets, necklaces and electronic gadgets you can buy to alert physicians and emergency medical technicians that you suffer from the condition. It’s always a good idea to have one of these on you in time of an emergency. You will want to keep your personal information, as well as your medical information, in these medical accessories.

Finally, it is a good idea to also prepare a more detailed list. Ask your doctor for a copy of your medical records for each family member, including medical problems and how they are being treated, as well as the names (including generic names) of any prescription drugs, including the dosages.

For each family member, also include a list of your medical care history (including a list of major illnesses and hospitalizations), optical care prescriptions and history, dental and orthodontic history, Immunization records, mental health history, health screening results, and any other important medical information.

While none of us likes to think about disaster, it’s extremely important to plan ahead of time in case we are faced with the unthinkable. By taking the above precautions and preparing your medical records ahead of time, you’ll be able to rest assured that should disaster strike your medical records will be as ready as you are. That’s it for today. Wishing you a great week!