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"Emergency! What EMS Needs to Know"
By: Lisa Beatty, 6/15/2022

I talk to seniors and their families about the importance of having strong foundational estate planning documents all the time.  Itís essential to have a detailed, well-written, and current Financial Power of Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney in place to ensure that your wishes will be carried out if something happens and you canít speak for yourself.

These are documents that are drafted in advance of an emergency, while you are still well and able to understand and sign them.  However, even though you may already have these in place, there are additional options to consider that will not only help you at the moment of the emergency, but also help the emergency responders and the doctors who will need to care for you.  Sometimes, medical treatment must be started before your family and/or appointed Power of Attorney agents can arrive.  And many people have medical conditions or information that need to be communicated before proper treatment can be determined.  What will happen if the emergency personnel donít have access to this critical information? 

Consider something as simple as keeping a list of such information handy in your home. The list should include your known medical conditions, all medications (both prescription and over-the-counter) that you take including vitamins and supplements, all known allergies (especially to certain medicines, latex, etc.), medical equipment necessary (i.e. oxygen or CPAP machines), the names and contact information for the agents named in your Medical Power of Attorney, and where your important medical documents are kept.  If you have a Do Not Resuscitate Order, it must be in a visible place such as taped to your refrigerator, so that medical personnel see it immediately upon arrival Ė if they donít know it exists, then they have a statutory obligation to stabilize you.  I also recommend keeping an Emergency Medical Card in your wallet or purse that states you have a Medical Power of Attorney in place and gives the agentsí contact information.  It can even have your attorneyís name and phone number on it.  Medical ID tags (in the form of necklaces or bracelets) are suggested for people who have certain illnesses or medical conditions, including those who are memory impaired, so that emergency personnel are alerted.

They say it's better to be safe than sorry. If your health isnít what it used to be, itís especially important for you to make sure that you are properly cared for in case of an emergency.  If you have questions about whether a Medical ID tag is a good option for you, talk to your doctor.  If you donít already have a Medical Power of Attorney in place or have questions about how to ensure that your medical wishes are followed in the future, nowís the time to contact our office!

 

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