I frequently get asked the question by people, “What are the most important things I need to have backed up and stored in case of an emergency or unexpected life event?” It is too late to compile the items once you have gone through a medical emergency, storm, fire, flood, theft, accident, death of a loved one, etc. So what are the things you need stored in advance? While the list is too long to discuss here and is unique to each person depending on their age, stage of life, and financial situation, there are some very basic items that almost everyone shares in common. In this article I will focus first on the most important medical related items every person should have stored in a separate, secure location in case of an emergency.
- Health Insurance card and ID’s.-You don’t want to get hit with unexpected hospital bills simply because you did not have proof of insurance. As an attorney I have helped far too many clients with erroneous billing issues. It is a nightmare.
- List of medications.-In time of a medical crisis, it is crucial that the physicians diagnose and treat you based on all the medical information possible and knowing what medicines you are taking will determine what other medications you can be prescribed.
- Copy of living will.-Should you become incapacitated and unable to communicate, the last thing you want is your family to fight over your end of life care and wishes. Make sure your wishes(advance directives) are explicitly spelled out and that this document can be located easily. For example, would you want to be kept alive on a breathing machine? Families have been destroyed over these difficult decisions and ultimately the fate will rest in the hands of a judge, not you, if you did not plan ahead.
- Medical history.-Have you had a recent back surgery? Do you have a herniated disc? Do you have diverticulitis? The quicker a doctor can locate this information, the quicker he or she can treat you effectively.
- Family members and contact information.-If you have an accident or medical emergency and you are alone, you want the medical professionals to contact your loved ones asap. I recommend keeping a list of those relatives and/or friends who you want to be notified.
These are the basic items that we all should have stored in a secure location that is easily accessible anytime, from anywhere. Your DocuVital account can handle of this for you. Taking these simple steps now will protect you and your family down the road.