A Trip to the ER

With my dad, ED visit, prior to tele leads and O2.

With my dad, ED visit, prior to tele leads and O2.

So as well as a nurse, I am a daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter, and one of the go-to health care experts in my family. All of you in health care, I’m sure can relate.

As a health care provider, you get a new patient. You go in as a nurse/physician/PA/NP (and whoever else I’m forgetting), and you need to get the patient’s health history (hx).  But they are too stressed out to even remember specific medication dosages, history and anything else pertinent to what the physician needs to know in order to care for the patient properly. But I can attest to this, as a nurse, and most importantly as the family member of of patient, medication dosages is the last thing on your mind when your in the ER. Allow me to share a story with you.

This is a story about my father, and no I am not violating HIPPA, since I’m a family member in this situation. Well if anyone knows my father, he’s in his mid 50’s but he has stopped counting in his 3o’s. His medical health history includes cardiac disease, coronary artery disease,  hypertension and other ailments.  So he is actually on quite a few of medications, OTC meds and vitamin supplements (yet he does not consider the OTC meds and vitamins in the medication category). So he’s been in and out of the hospital primarily for cardiac reasons (he’s doing great now), by hospital I mean the Emergency Room. Earlier in the day he was complaining of chest pain, so my mother had an ambulance take him to the ER nearby, and not for a pleasure stroll. I don’t remember where I exactly was at the time, but I ended up meeting them there. So by the time they took him into a room, one of the nurses came in and started getting some additional information from my mother regarding the occurrence. Then the nurse started asking my parents for additional information regarding my dad’s medications (that he is currently taking), health, procedure and surgical history. But all my parents could tell the nurse  (after all they were both in a stressful situation, the added anxiety doesn’t help patients or family members) was my dad was on heart medicine, something for his blood pressure, and she or my father couldn’t remember the rest. So that was about as good as the history could be given. So then the nurse turned to me and requested that I get a copy of all his medications as soon as I was able to. Of course, at that time I felt guilty that I didn’t have a complete detailed record of both my parents health history, after all I am a nurse. It’s in my profession and honestly all health care to be prepared. I should be prepared, I should of had my family prepared for such an emergency. But because of my absolutely guilt trip I felt like the absolute worst daughter and the worst nurse possible. So then I had to run home and get all his medications. Well to make a long story short, I gave them the medications. They ruled out a heart attack, and attributed it to a panic attack. So he came home with a clear bill of health (but still had a follow up with his primary).

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 10.15.33 PMBut here is the thing, even as healthcare providers we can’t possibly be prepared for everything from tsunamis, earthquakes, terrorist biological invasion to having a family member in the ER. We can do what we can, learn and go forward from there.

So after that occurrence, it gave me an idea. Why don’t I make my parents each a wallet sized card? A card that contains all the pertinent medical information that a healthcare giver would need, in case of an emergency? So I made them each wallet sized laminated emergency cards-so they can each have in their wallet, and so I can have a copy in my own wallet.

Here are samples of what I made (excuse the blurriness), along with a rough copy of two cards in this blog (the cards available for purchase have been updated). When you have a family member in the Emergency Room, who may have more of a complex health history, it will be difficult enough to remain calm, much less remember all of their medical information. The reason I am sharing this with you is because the situation is already stressful, why not try to eliminate the stress of your loved one’s health history.

Which is why I am including an optional PDF template  that you could purchase via Etsy. Or you could create a similar template that fits your individual needs. If you choose to go with my template, I will also add a link to the laminates that would fit this template. Or you could use your own page laminate and individually cut each card apart. I will give you a short step by step:

***Sample template below***

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 10.07.20 PM

Instructions with template

  1. Purchase template
  2. Fill in text boxes with medical information
  3. Print
  4. Cut out the cards that you printed out to fit the laminate business cards
  5. **I purchase the laminate that does not require a laminate machine**
  6. There are two parts to the card, you have the front that will have the name on the top left and drug allergies on the top right, then an MD which I chose for my parents sake as their primary MD-with the office phone number. With the medications below. Then you have the back of the card with the history portion. Get both sides of the card and put them back to back.
  7. Press down laminate
  8. Insert in wallet

***Template is $1.20,  and all purchases are non-refundable. Template is a INSTANT PDF downloadable file. I will be donating 50% of all ER Medical Wallet card profits to the American Heart Association on behalf of my dad…Thank you .***

If you are interested in purchasing a emergency medical wallet card template please go to the link below.

Emergency Medical Wallet Template Cards

Scotch Self-Sealing Laminating Pouches, 25-Pack (LS851G), Business Card Size

You can never be to prepared. Especially, for me finding out the hard way, when it comes to your loved ones.


One thought on “A Trip to the ER

  1. Pingback: The Great Shake Out Part 1 | The Working Nurse

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