Seniors traveling tips will be different for everyone, as they choose different destinations and ways to get there. There is one tip, that all should include on their checklist: taking along your health history, allergies and list of medications where ever you go.
Everyone wants to stay safe and healthy while traveling. Having your specific medical information with you, helps provide unfamiliar health care professionals important and specific information that can help avoid misdiagnosis and unnecessary costly testing.
There are so many signs and symptoms that a senior may experience, that can contribute to a misdiagnosis. For example, a person that was in a car accident, may be experiencing slurred speech, when being interviewed by the ER doctor.
The doctor may see that the patient was given a pain medication and assume that is what is contributing to the slurred speech. . Meanwhile, the patient is experiencing low blood sugar and was never able to tell the health care providers they were diabetic. This is not an uncommon occurrence in the ER.
So it makes sense, when you are traveling that you should have easy access to your personal health information and health insurance. Accidents occur when you least expect them.
If you are an international traveler, and go to a country, where they may not speak the same language, it is a good idea to have all your health information written down. This way, someone can translate the information for you.
So What is Considered Important Personal Health Information?
Personal health information is important medical information that is specific to you. Your health history, your allergies, your list of medications. Depending on your health and medical history, it may include up to date tests, and laboratory results. You may have implanted device, such as an insulin pump or be on a medication that requires monitoring, such as blood thinners. The information you include can help you get the care you need, in a timely fashion. Care the way you need it and the appropriate level of care. You specific medical information can avoid unnecessary and costly tests and even misdiagnosis.
What Information Should You Include?
According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) the personal health information you carry with you when you travel should include:
Emergency contact information – this should be someone who is not traveling with you and has access to all your medical and legal information. Such as POA’s, Advanced Directives.
List of your doctors and their contact information
List of medical conditions for which you are receiving treatment or managing
Any past medical conditions that are relevant
Medication lists and the doses you take – including prescription and over-the-counter medicines
Allergies – this should include allergies to any food or drug
Here is a link to Forms you may want to use.
Any other information that might help in case of an emergency – I suggest including having a copy of your Advanced Directive, or even a POLST, (Physician Ordered Life Sustaining Treatment).
Information about your health insurance. This is important to carry with you at all times. If you are traveling outside of the US, we suggest you may want to look into your healthcare insurance options abroad.
While your health care providers can help you determine what should be included in your personal health information, it is up to you to ensure that you keep your information updated. Remember, emergencies happen when we least expect them. You may want to include information that your doctor or pharmacist may not even be aware of, such as your dietary preferences or your activity level.
When traveling abroad, having a list of vaccinations and the dates they were given is of utmost importance when traveling to a country where immunizations are required.
Sharing Your Personal Health Information with Family and Friends
You should always carry your personal health information with you. There are times, however, when it is necessary to share your information with a member of your family or a friend.
You are, of course, the one that should make the decision as to who you share or don’t share your personal health information with. So it is important to make your preferences known to the nurses and doctors who are treating you, even in an emergency situation.
This way, the health care providers will honor your wishes and share only relevant information with the person you trust to help you make decisions about your healthcare. This should be a designated emergency contact, so they may provide your personal health information, in the event you cannot speak for yourself. Here is a form you may want to use.
How Should You Store Your Personal Health Information?
There are many different ways you can safely store personal health information in a practical and convenient way. So, even if you have an extensive medical and surgical history, you do not need to have lots of bulky medical records to take with you.
Today there is an easy and safe alternative that are available, if you own a computer.
Traditional medical ID bracelets have such limited space and inability to provide information specific to you.
The next generation Medical ID bracelet utilizes:
- a mobile health platform, even if you do not have a smart phone.
- A simple cloud based platform that allows access via a medical ID bracelet, necklace or key fob, a laminated card to alert first responders.
- Allows ready access to contact your emergency contacts via phone call or text.
- Allows you to determine what information you want made available
- Allows you to easily update you health care information when you have changes in you status
- Provides a safe and secure system for storage, to give you peace of mind. A system that allows you to turn off access to your material with one click, if you your bracelet or ID card has been lost.
Taking your personal health information with you an important step in ensuring your safety while you are traveling away from home. So before you worry about how many carry-ons you should bring, be ready for the road ahead by ensuring that you are carrying your personal health information. Your life may depend on it.
Listen to my e health radio interview about Senior traveling tips Here