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Protect Yourself: be prepared for medical emergencies

Acute illnesses and accidents occur without any warning and result in unexpected admissions into hospitals on an emergent basis. Due to the severity of their condition, patients are often unable to provide the hospital staff with their medical history. In order to ensure that a patient receives appropriate care, medications and treatment, the staff needs to be aware of each patient’s medical history, allergies, prescribed medications and supplements. Be prepared for medical emergencies by carrying the following information in your wallet or purse at all times: name and phone number of your primary care physician, name of all of medications and supplements including the dose and how often the medications are taken, name and phone number of your pharmacy, list of your allergies, list of all medical conditions you have been diagnosed with and a list of surgeries you have underwent. Remember to update your information as needed such as by updating medication information when dose adjustments are prescribed. This information can be kept on a piece of paper or on a laminated card. Be sure to inform your loved ones of where you keep this information in the event that you are unable to communicate with hospital staff upon admission. Providing this information not only assists the staff in providing appropriate care and treatment but also can prevent medication errors. Help the medical staff help you by being prepared.