- Get copies of all your official medical records and keep them in a special section of your personal medical file. More than half the states have enacted laws giving patients access to their hospital and physician records. You may have more difficulty in states that haven’t enacted such laws, but no state specifically denies access to your records. There will likely be a cost to obtain your medical records, which varies from state to state. Keep all medical documents in a central location where they can be found easily, and let family members and helpers know where the file is in case it is needed in an emergency.
- Carry an index card in your purse or wallet with a list of your medications (including dosages), and any allergies or special medical conditions you have. You will be asked for this information over and over again, and having it on paper is better than relying on memory. Use a second card for the names and phone numbers of your primary care physician, your specialists, nurses, medical supply company, clergy, emergency contacts, and the like. Carry both cards at all times. Also, consider keeping this information in a small electronic planner or hand-held personal data assistant like a Palm Pilot. Give a duplicate set of these cards to your helpers, family members, or close friends.
- Computer users can use the Internet to access the world’s largest medical library—the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. At this site, you will find health, treatment, and medication information in easy-to-understand layman’s terms. For more information, contact the Office of Public Information at the National Institutes of Health.
Find out more about this book:Parkinson's Disease (300 Tips for Making Life Easier)