October 8, 2010

The Case for a Healthcare Advocate, Part II: The Documents You’ll Need

Having copies of the proper paperwork is very important if you are caring for a senior, or for yourself if you have a medical condition

In  my previous blog on the need that often arises for a family member to be named a healthcare advocate for your client, I described how securing Healthcare Advocate status is essential for anyone with elderly parents or grandparents since such advocates have the legal authorization to act on seniors’ behalf to help resolve medical situations in a timely and effective way.

Having copies of the proper paperwork is also very important if you are caring for a senior, or for yourself if you have a medical condition. It's easy to do with any word processing program, such as Microsoft Word. Create a document and save it as “Medical and Emergency Data.” The document should contain information such as the names of the seniors, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, Social Security and Medicare numbers, secondary insurance carrier number, doctors' names and contact information, prescriptions currently being taken, dosages and the name of the pharmacy. It is also important to list all allergies to medications or food and any known health problems. As medications or conditions change over time, simply update the form.

To keep this information accessible, I would recommend purchasing a clear envelope that can be attached to the refrigerator door or other appliance with a magnet or magnetic clip. Keep the Medical and Emergency Data sheet, along with a copy of insurance and Medicare card(s), in this envelope. Other useful information to keep in this envelope might include the discharge papers from any previous hospitalizations. If there is a sudden need for medical assistance, you can just grab the envelope and go.

An even safer and more practical step is to make sure the senior has a copy of this data in their purse or wallet to accommodate any unforeseen circumstances. It goes without saying that the Health Care Advocate should also have a copy of the Medical and Emergency Data form on hand to be on a firm footing with medical authorities at any time, but particularly in the event of an emergency.

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