Ready for an emergency? Get Your Medication List Together

November 10, 2020

As we age, men and women develop health problems that, most likely, include prescriptions. What if you have an emergency? Are you ready? Would your partner or children know what medications you’re on? It’s smart to make a medication list and to keep it on hand. 

It always feels like a bummer to talk about what if’s when it comes to emergencies but it’s a reality. What if you are unconscious? Would your family member be able to tell the ER doctor what medications you are taking? 

Common Health Conditions and Medication

Heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes all require daily medication. Some you take at night and some you take in the morning. As you and your doctor work on your health, you may even try different meds. It’s a lot to keep track of. 

“The ADA says that half of Americans 65 and older have prediabetes, which means that nearly 25 million seniors are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. That is a staggeringly high number, given that another 25 percent of the senior population already has diabetes.”

Then there are pain management, mental illness, epilepsy, ADHD (yes Seniors may take prescriptions), and other conditions we don’t normally think of that require daily medication. If you’ve received an organ transplant there are even more medications. 

Organizing My Medication

You might be highly organized and have pill organizers, manual or automatic. Amazon just purchased which is a pharmacy that sorts and delivers your medication -- labeled for the time of day.

Your insurance plan may have an app and you manage your prescriptions that way Kaiser does. No matter how you organize your medication, you still need a list. 

“By keeping a complete medication list and bringing it with you to each doctor’s appointment or trip to a pharmacy, you can provide important information to your doctor and pharmacist to improve your health and prevent potential problems.” Mike Berger, Pharm D

Create a Medication List 

What about privacy? We all care about our privacy online for our health information and our identity. If creating a Google Doc or Sheet on the Cloud with your list that you have given access to a family member overwhelms you, go old school. AARP has made a Microsoft Word Template as a free resource as well.

Keep a binder or folder that has a master list and the most recent printouts from your pharmacy. Keep it in your home in a place your family member can access without you (not in a safe).

John Muir Health recommends making a wallet-sized list of your medication to keep with you that includes dosage and number of times you take it. 

“Keeping an accurate medication list isn't just in case of emergencies. As Dr. Hicks points out, ‘Patients should bring all of the medications on their list in the original bottles in a plastic bag, whenever they visit a physician.’” John Muir Health

There’s nothing wrong with being ready -- emergency or not. So, get cracking with your list making!

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