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By Barbara Miller, RN

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Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to go somewhere at the drop of a hat? In most situations you can manage, perhaps a little flustered, but you can get there and do what is necessary. Now think of being at the ready in a true emergency visit to a physician’s office, the hospital or urgent care center.
This is the time to be cool, calm and collected, not flustered! It is vitally important for the professionals at the other end to have the most current information about you, to expedite treatment, to know your wishes for critical care and to know who can speak for you, should you be unable to.

The time to act is NOW, not as you are being rushed OUT THE DOOR!
NOW is the time to gather everything together and have at the ready in a place that someone can just pick up and take along. What needs to be included? The following is a list that should include:
1. Current Medication list, including dosages times taken.
2. Allergy Information.
3. The names and telephone numbers of your treating physicians.
4. Do Not Resuscitate Order (if you have designated).
5. Advanced Directives which name your Health Care Surrogates and also indicated what you want done as well as what you do not want done.
6. Insurance Cards, Social Security Card.
7. The names / telephone numbers of family members to be contacted.
8. Religious preference / Clergy name and telephone

In addition, you may want to have a small bag always packed with essentials, in the event that you are taken to a hospital and are admitted for treatment. Having this would make it much easier for another person to just get it for you, rather than trying to locate these things and pack a bag to bring to you.
Essentials to consider would be:
1. Change of underwear.
2. Toothbrush and paste or denture cleaner.
3. Comb & Brush.
4. Deodorant, a bar of soap (if your skin is sensitive).
5. Robe & slippers; nightwear in case you will be able to use.
6. Reading material & glasses.
7. Your personal telephone call list.
8. Toiletries (no heavy perfumes or after shave).
Although none of us really want to have a last minute visit to any of the above mentioned entities, we need to be prepared, for our peace of mind and for those that love and care for us. Certainly other items of importance to you can also be included. Be a good scout and BE PREPARED!