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Keep your history handy

Ambulance crews say keeping medical info close can be very helpful in their efforts. - Peter W. Rusland/file
Ambulance crews say keeping medical info close can be very helpful in their efforts.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland/file

Having been a paramedic with the B.C. Ambulance Service for more than 24 years, Lake Cowichan’s Tammy Weaver Gagne feels it doesn’t hurt to remind people about the importance of keeping a record of their parents medical information.

This information can be vital to people like Weaver Gagne when she and her colleagues are visiting a care home or assisted living residence in an emergency situation.

Privacy laws in B.C. mean this information isn’t  always at the fingertips of nurses or care attendants. Because of this, the onus to provide it lies with the family of those in care

“I think people put their loved ones into care homes thinking this information is there,” Weaver Gagne said, noting she’s had to break into locked medicine boxes to find information off pill bottles.

“It’s up to  the relatives, I believe, to get this information, to put it on the fridge door or wherever.”

Weaver Gagne suggest writing down the person’s name, date of birth, medical history, allergies, and current medicine.

She also advises to family members to keep tabs that information is up to date, and then leave that information somewhere where it’s easy to access if emergency crews are at the door.

“We don’t know sometimes if they have allergies,” she said. “It becomes all very frustrating.”

Especially when she and other paramedics just want to ensure the most healthiest outcomes in dire situations, as well as a smooth transition to hospital.

“We are able to manage, and we still deal with it, we deal with what we have, but it would sure make things easier,” she said.

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