Will Your Family Have the Right Answers? Be "Hospital Ready."

Will Your Family Have the Right Answers? Be “Hospital Ready.”

Your medical care could depend on it.

I was sitting next to the fireplace one evening, all cozy in my “comfies” when my phone rang. “Your dad has been taken by ambulance to the emergency room. You need to get to the hospital quickly,” said my father’s friend.

I’ve received that phone call twice in the past few years. The first time, Dad’s heart rate was racing; his pulse reached 180. Surgery followed. The last time, his pulse was in the 30’s. Fortunately, Dad’s ok. He’s 84 and doing well now.

But I never know when the next call will come.

If you have older parents or loved ones, you might know how this feels. You dread this call. When the call comes, you rush to the hospital. You want to be by your loved one’s side. But then…

The nurse says, “Please complete these forms.”

Completing hospital forms

photo courtesy: Thinkstock / psphotograph

You are handed a clipboard with pages of forms. Then, the barrage of questions begins. “Does she have any allergies? What medications is he taking?”

The last time this happened, I realized how little I really knew about my dad’s health. I remember being asked about his medications, insurance, and surgical history. I worried that my lack of answers could complicate or even hurt his care. What if the doctors didn’t know some critical piece of information—and that would impact his medical treatment?

And then I thought about my own health and how my husband would feel if the nurse or doctor asked him about my allergies or medications. You see, I’m allergic to morphine and codeine. I’d like to think he’d remember that in a crisis, but I’m not certain he would. If either of my sons were with me, I doubt they’d remember at all.

Based on my experiences with Dad, as well as my own trip to the ER a few years ago with acute appendicitis, I wondered if there’s a better way. I wanted to become “hospital ready.” I decided to organize all my information in one place.

Before there’s a medical crisis, get hospital ready.

You can get organized too. Here’s the information you should include:

  • personal information (full name, date of birth, address, gender)
  • insurance information
  • emergency contact(s)
  • clinical overview – name of your healthcare providers, medical problems, allergies, medications, surgical history
  • preferences for spiritual and culturally specific care
  • attach a copy of your healthcare directive

To make this really simple, I’ve created a free PDF Checklist for you and your loved ones.

Being hospital ready requires three simple steps.

  1. Complete the Be Hospital Ready checklist for yourself.
  2. Ask each of your loved ones to complete the Be Hospital Ready checklist.
  3. Make sure the completed Be Hospital Ready checklists are accessible in an emergency. Keep a copy in the glove compartment, in your purse or briefcase. You can even keep a scanned image accessible as a PDF on your mobile phone.

Here’s an awesome bonus. Next time you go to a new doctor’s office, when they hand you a clipboard with pages and pages of forms, you can simply hand them this checklist with all your information. Phew. What a relief that will be.

Will you receive the dreaded call about a family member? Or, what if your loved ones received a panicked call regarding you? Either way, you’ll be hospital ready.


QUESTION: Have you had to fill out hospital forms for a loved one in an emergency? If you have any suggestions you’d like to share, you can join the conversation by sharing this post via social media with your comment using #BeHospitalReady.

  1. I’ve been caught in this panic situation myself more than once. Having this information at my fingertips would have been very helpful. I’ve already downloaded copies for myself and my husband and will be encouraging our children and spouses to do the same.

    Thank you for your meaningful and practical support. God bless.

  2. Unfortunately, writing from first-hand experience of my mother unexpectedly entering into a 10-day coma after successful open-heart surgery (she had been diagnosed with a routine UTI afterwards but medical negligence occurred and we learned for 4 days she was not treated for the UTI), my siblings and I were forced to make a decision of whether to unplug her from the air breathing machine and have her pumped full of morphine, or keep her on the breathing machine for approximately another 12 hours before her organs would completely shut down (which they were in the process of doing). I cannot begin to describe the agony and the stress all 5 adult siblings were under, because we had NO IDEA what she would have wanted. And our love for her wanted to not abandon all hope. Arguments in a stressful situation ensued, arguments that could have been prevented, had we been “hospital ready”.

    I cannot stress to you enough the importance of Ms. Denny’s ministry and taking advantage of the resources she is offering.

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