The Caregiver Checklist: Be Prepared for Unexpected Situations and Emergencies
The holiday season is right around the corner and many people are thinking about family and making plans to visit them. When you are discussing plans and during your actual visit is a great time to put together a Caregiver Checklist. This is a list of important information that will help you to act quickly in the event of an emergency. In the case of elderly relatives, the Caregiver Checklist is particularly important because older adults often have chronic conditions, multiple medications and doctors all of which need to be considered in order to provide the best care. Having all of your loved ones’ important information consolidated and easily accessed will provide peace of mind to your family and to you.
The following list of important information should be included on your Caregiver Checklist:
Personal Information: Create a profile with his/her full legal name, address, phone number(s), birthdate, Social Security Number, and known allergies. Also indicate marital status and name(s) of anyone living with them.
Medications: Keep a current list of all medications including prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, and vitamins or supplements that they may take. Include the name, dosage, and how often they take it so that first responders are fully informed.
Medical Information: List all of your relative’s current medical issues, including chronic conditions (i.e. hypertension, COPD, heart condition), recent injuries or infections, and any minor illnesses as well. If your loved one has an Advanced Directive (Living Will), DNR or a Medical POA, make sure to attach a copy to your Caregiver Checklist.
Doctors: Make a list of each of your relatives’ doctors, their specialty and contact information. Be sure to include emergency after-hours contact information.
Medical Insurance: Document all relevant insurance information including primary insurance as well as any secondary or gap policies. Make sure to provide policy numbers, contact information and a photocopy of the insurance card. If there is a Medical POA or designated financial representative, be sure to include that contact information.
Contact Information: Make a list of everyone who may need to be contacted in the event of an emergency. Include yourself, other responsible family members, neighbors and friends. If there is a religious affiliation list that as well. If your relative has pets, make a plan for their care.
Once you have created the Caregiver Checklist, make sure that it is readily available at your loved one’s home. Also, give a copy to each relative who may be called upon in the event of an emergency. The time and effort you put into developing the Caregiver Checklist will be invaluable in the event of an emergency.
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