As the Geriatric Care Manager for Bethesda, it is my privilege to work closely with our independent living seniors and their families. During my visits with residents, I noticed that the lack of information about a resident was inhibiting the delivery of timely healthcare and was disturbed.
And that’s how the development of the Bethesda Personal Emergency Medical Information kit began.
Personal Medical Information Needs to Be Accessible in a Crisis
During my visits, I discovered that most seniors have their advanced directives and other important information securely stored in a bank deposit box or a locked filing cabinet in their homes. Unfortunately, those files are inaccessible in a medical emergency.
While coordinating hospital discharges, I realized that often medical staff did not secure this vital information until a family member arrived at the hospital. This procedure is due to the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) – the hospital cannot take the information provided on the phone by family, as it needs to be a written document.
Most EMS emergency staff members are trained to look into and on the outside of a person’s home refrigerator and freezer to find this vital information. In doing so, they waste precious time looking for clues to an individual’s healthcare needs, rather than having it easily accessible.
It was clear that people needed to be educated and given another solution to ensure the health and safety of our residents and the entire senior population. Thus, we developed the Bethesda Personal Emergency Medical Information (PEMI) kit.
What Does the Bethesda PEMI Kit Include?
In the time of crisis, it is vital that accurate medical information be easily accessible to medical staff, including:
- Important phone numbers
- Physician information
The kit serves as a place to collect and place all of a senior’s vital information, making the information easily accessible for use by any medical professional. The kit includes a plastic freezer-safe pouch, in which the important documents are to be placed.
The kit provides an official out-of-hospital do-not-resuscitate (DNR) form, as well as a form to be completed by the senior or family member that includes:
- Personal Information
- Emergency Contacts
- Physicians and Hospital of Choice
- Known Medical Conditions
The kit also includes a refrigerator magnet, because once the kit is complete, the packet should be placed in the freezer. First responders will also be able to take the kit with them when they transport a senior to the hospital.
How to Order Your Free PEMI Kit
The health of our seniors comes first and foremost. As such, Bethesda provides these kits free of charge to anyone who asks for one. Simply fill out an order form and the kit will be mailed to you.