This is perhaps one of the most important posts I have ever done with regards to human life. Have you ever heard of something called “File of Life”? If you have and if it is being used properly, then as you know you have what you need as far as information in the time of an emergency for you or your loved ones.
It may be known under certain other terms, like “Vial of Life”, instead of “File of Life.” The concept is the same though in that name, address, phone number, medications, health conditions, hospital to transport to, contacts in case of an emergency – are all listed on one complete form in a recognizable place.
My wife Denise and I had our own PERS business – Personal Emergency Response business for more than a decade and we would always provide information forms for our customers to fill out regarding their health conditions, medications, allergies, emergency contacts, first point of contact, second point of contact, hospital, etc.
They would then place the information sheets in a sealed plastic folder and place it on the fridge door in a conspicuous place. The “Vile of Life” sticker would then be placed on the outside door or window which would alert medical personnel and others that the critical medical information could be found inside on the fridge.
Denise and I would stress how important it was to fill out the forms and place them on the fridge when we would visit our senior customers. The time to think about doing something like this is not during an emergency!
When I was a Senior Community Manager at an Independent Living facility , there were several times where the residents failed to fill out the forms with the necessary information. It made things very difficult for the emergency personnel and me as the manager since we struggled with what to do with the resident. The first question the EMS personnel would ask is “Is the resident on any medications?” and second would be – “Are there any health conditions you know of?” The third question might be, “What hospital do you want us to transport them to?” When no one is around and the resident is unconscious and every second counts and there is no information to be found anywhere, what do you do?
With the new HIPAA laws, (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) information like this is not kept in any file. It is only kept by the residents so there is no way of knowing what complications or medications there were for any given resident.
The forms are so easy to fill out and could be life-saving since every second counts in some situations. There are many places that will provide these forms for free. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy as long as you have the information when it is needed and where EMS can get to it. Don’t delay today in making sure your loved ones have a “File of Life” or “Vial of Life” filled out today and placed where it needs to be placed.
You don’t have to be an older person either. You can do this for everyone in your family. Many choose not to think that the unthinkable will not happen, but believe me it does!
I can’t stress enough how important this simple thing to do is!