Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Avoiding the Scary Side of Healthcare

It’s 8:00 p.m., and the pain in your chest is still there. You finally admit to your loved one that maybe it’s time to got to the hospital. You can see their worry as they grab the car keys and hurry you out the door to the emergency room…

Let’s face it, going to the hospital can be a little frightening. But there are ways to prepare yourself and your loved ones. A little bit of preparation can make the experience better for everyone: you, your family, and the hospital staff.

1. Make sure that your healthcare power of attorney is up-to-date. This document names the person (or persons) you would like to make medical decisions for you if you can’t do so. Review this document periodically to make sure your choice(s) is still valid.

2. Review your Living Will. This document states your desires regarding treatments you would (or would not) want to receive in the hospital if you cannot make these decisions yourself. Your living will is an important resource for your healthcare power of attorney should he or she need to make decisions about your care.

3. Make your decision about organ donation and document it. If you would like to donate your organs at the time of your passing, make that decision now and put it in writing. One organ donor can save up to eight (8) lives, and the need far exceeds the supply.

4. Talk to your loved ones about your healthcare choices: who you’ve named as your healthcare power of attorney, what your medical wishes are, and whether you want to be an organ donor. The more they know in advance, the easier it will be for them if they ever have to step in.

5. Carry your DocuBank wallet card. Our firm provides this card because we know that immediate access to your emergency information and healthcare directives is important. Make sure that your card is next to your driver’s license in your wallet at all times.

6. Update the emergency information you store with DocuBank. This includes your allergies and medical conditions that display on your Emergency Card and can help with your emergency treatment. Also update your doctor’s and emergency contacts’ names and phone numbers.

At the hospital, the E.R. staff ask you many questions. One of them is whether you have a living will or other healthcare directive (they may call it an “advance directive”). You or your loved one presents your DocuBank card. Hospital staff can make immediate note of the allergies and medical conditions on your card. They then use the card to obtain your directives, adding them to your chart immediately. There is no fuss about where your living will is or who should go back home to get it. Your card takes the stress of you and your family when the focus should be on your health, not your healthcare directives. The doctor comes in and you start to relax a little…

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