Items You Should Consider Having Ready to Go if the Unexpected Occurs
What if you suffered an accident or sudden illness that required you to be hospitalized? Suppose you are in the ICU and the staff offers to call your spouse or another loved one, but in your sedated and confused condition you cannot remember phone numbers or the code needed to get into your locked phone. Believe it or not, one of our teenage sons had a medical episode that rendered him so disoriented and confused that he could not recall his phone’s unlock code. If it happened to a 17 year old, it can happen to any of us!
Back to your situation: rather than calling home, you lay in the hospital room alone and in a state of confusion. At the same time your family is scrambling to figure out exactly where you are and whether you’re okay.
To further complicate matters, due to the current Covid Pandemic, your family and friends may not even be allowed to visit once your whereabouts has been determined. This is a terrible, though not far-fetched, scenario. As an effort in preparedness, you should consider having a number of things ready to go to make certain (1) you can be connected with your loved ones, (2) that you’ll be as comfortable as possible, and (3) your emergency contacts and legal documents are immediately accessible.
Having these things in order before you need them is the key. In an emergency, you and your family will have a hard time throwing things together. Here are some things we suggest that you have put together in case hospitalization becomes necessary:
Copies of legal documents (financial Power of Attorney Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, HIPAA Authorization) as well as a list of your medications, health conditions, and insurance information. Of course, if you take advantage of the FREE Docubank coverage that we offer to many of our estate planning clients, that information will all be available immediately to emergency personnel and health care providers.
As for making your hospital stay as comfortable as possible, you should pre-pack photos of family or other people, pets, or things that will bring you comfort while you are alone. Many personal items, such as your Bible or other spiritual/religious reading materials, books, magazines, small puzzles and games, or other small things can go a long way toward making you less anxious and/or more happy.
Consider having some of your favorite non-perishable snacks so you can balance your diet between hospital meals (which can be a struggle to enjoy!). Of course, eyeglasses (plus cleaner and a repair kit), hearing aids, batteries, and other similar items are a must. Remember how noisy, active, and bright things can be at night in the hospital? It may be very relaxing to have headphones, ear plugs, and a sleeping mask in your ready bag.
Other comfort items to consider include one or more of your favorite nightgowns, pajamas, sleeping shirts, a robe, non-slip socks, slippers, and underwear. Toiletries (lip balm, lotion, shaving cream, deodorant, toothpaste, comb, brush, makeup, haircare products, etc) consisting of your preferred brands, scents, and flavors can make a big difference. It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared!
What about a comfortable pillow or small blanket? These items can add extra comfort and security to you as you recover and can give you a feeling of home.
Along with a spare phone charger and small extension cord, keep a notecard in your emergency bag that contain the unlock code for your phone, along with a list of key phone numbers of family and close friends.
Simple things like paper, stationary, cards, envelopes, and stamps can help you pass time and help make connections with loved ones. You may want to have a packet of notecards and thank you cards you could use to show your appreciation to the team of medical professionals who help you get through your trying time.
Planning ahead… it is so important in all aspects of life. Along with making certain your estate planning goals are addressed and necessary protections are in place through the planning services we provide to our clients, making the effort to put these suggested items in place in anticipation of your emergency can give you yet further peace of mind.
Attorney Mike Burgett
Burgett Law Firm, PLLC