By now I’ve spoken with several friends, family members or clients that have gotten the coronavirus. Thankfully they have all recovered and were either asymptomatic or had mild cases. But what if they hadn’t? What if they were totally unable to function for an extended period?
What should you be doing to be prepared?
Think about it. Have you told anyone that you’d like them to take care of Max, your dog, or Fluffy, your cat, if you are out of commission for two weeks? Do the right people know your emergency plan for your medicines, money or hospital stay?
What about your family? Do they know where to find important papers and how to take care of things if you are not able for an extended period?
This is a different type of planning—it is about planning for the unexpected.
Here are some basic emergency planning tips that can make things a little easier:
- Make a list of your medications and keep it on hand.
- Plan for refills. Make sure you have a bit more of a supply on hand now.
- Call your pharmacy to see if your medications can be sent to your home.
- Choose a trusted family member or close friend to help you with your money and bills. Tell them how to access your financial information and accounts, including user names and passwords.
- Be wary of scammers. Many are capitalizing on coronavirus fears. Never give out your personal information such as dates of birth, Social Security number or account numbers to strangers, especially if they are calling or emailing you.
- If a hospitalization would be a financial hardship, consider investigating patient advocacy services now through your health care provider or hospital.
- Have a bit more cash available in your bank accounts for unexpected expenses.
- Choose someone to take care of your pets.
- Make sure they have the name of your vet, instructions on caring for your pet, and a list of your pet’s medical issues.
- Give them a house key in case they need to get in to care for your pet.
- Request delivery of pet food or order supplies online.
A hospital stay
- Going to the hospital is different now.
- You may not be able to talk to your doctor in person—only by phone.
- No visitors will be allowed to see you except in special circumstances.
- You may be taken to a hospital other than the one where you usually get your care.
- Things to bring
- Phone numbers, key contacts to give your medical providers, including the person(s) who are your medical decision makers
- List of medications or pill bottles
- Advance directive
- Plans for your pets or bills
This is only a partial list of things to do to be prepared. Even in normal times, these are great tips to keep in mind when trying to plan ahead in.
Hang in there. We are still here to answer your questions.
Lyman H. Jackson
Contributing sources: Partners Healthcare System and the National Patient Advocate Foundation.
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