In an Emergency...
“As social workers, we are here to address the non-medical but critical needs of patients who come into the hospital in order to make their treatment go as smoothly as possible, and to remove any obstacles to successful care,” shares Maureen Forman, LCSW, CSWHC, CCM, Supervisor of Clinical Social Services at Eisenhower Medical Center.
“Our team has noticed that many patients arrive at the hospital without important information or items that can make a real difference in their care,” explains Forman. “As many Valley residents have an emergency preparedness kit in case of an earthquake…, we recommend that people have a similar kit in case of an unexpected trip to the hospital, particularly if they live alone and do not have a partner or child who can bring their personal belongings to the hospital.”
Your emergency kit should include:
- A copy of your driver’s license and insurance card. Ambulance drivers often do not take purses or wallets to the hospital, so having a copy of these documents on hand is critical.
- A list of your current medications. This, too, is critical for treating you properly, immediately and effectively.
- The names, relationships and phone numbers of your emergency contacts.
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care paperwork, if available, identifying who is your surrogate for medical decisions if you are incapacitated.
- A key to your house so you can get back in when you return home (ambulance drivers always lock the door when they leave).
- A change of clothes just in case your clothing is damaged.
- Plans for pet care, including contact information of individuals who can feed and walk your pet in your absence.
- Denture needs (denture cream is not among hospital supplied toiletries).
- An extra pair of eyeglasses.
Eisenhower Healthy Living Resource Center offers a convenient Vial of Life that contains a document you can fill out in advance with important information to help emergency personnel provide you with appropriate treatment. Emergency personnel are trained to look for the Vial of Life. The magnetized sleeve (perfect for the refrigerator) holds lists of your personal and medical information, emergency contacts, doctors, medications and health insurance. You can also keep copies of the information in your car and in your emergency kit. To obtain the Vial of Life, call the Eisenhower Healthy Living Resource Center at 760-568-1234 or 760-610-7205.