Maintain Medical Emergency Cards for Residents
Residents of sites operated by Cohoes Housing Authority in Cohoes, N.Y., have one less worry in a medical emergency. The housing authority has implemented a medical emergency data card system that puts all the information emergency medical personnel would need at their fingertips.
The low-cost, low-tech system consists of a frame holder installed inside the residential unit, near the front door. The Medical Emergency Data Card slips into the frame and is easily referenced in an emergency. And it can be easily removed—for example, if an emergency medical technician or ambulance driver needs to take it along with the resident to the hospital.
“We started the program a few months ago, and so far about 80 percent of our residents have complied,” explains Charles Valenti, the housing authority's Family Self Sufficiency program coordinator. “We don't require them to have the cards, but we encourage it.”
Cohoes operates four different sites with 325 units. Many residents are seniors or handicapped individuals, according to Valenti. The cards and frames were installed at no cost to the residents, he says. The housing authority absorbed the minimal cost. Residents who have not had the card system installed report being concerned about privacy, Valenti adds, though the card is inside the unit and not public in any way.
The idea for the card and frame system that Cohoes is using came from a neighboring housing authority, Valenti points out. The executive director of the Water-vliet Housing Authority is assisting Cohoes in the absence of a director at the agency.
Comprehensive Health and Contact Details
We have included a sample card based on the Cohoes Housing Authority Medical Emergency Data Card. The requested information covers details essential for emergency personnel, especially if the resident is disoriented or unable to provide the information.
The card includes:
Personal data: name, address, phone number, and date of birth;
Physician's name, address, and phone number;
Next of kin, and an alternate contact person;
Information about past illnesses and operations;
Current health conditions being treated;
Current medications; and
Date the card was completed.
“We encourage residents to keep the information current,” Valenti says. “We're just trying to protect our residents and keep them safe.”
A resident's recent medical emergency illustrates Valenti's point. “We had no immediate information on next of kin or what was wrong,” he says. “We had to get all that from his file and finally reached his daughter. It turned out okay, but we could have saved time if all that information had been handy.”
Charles Valenti: Program Coordinator, Cohoes Housing Authority, 100 Manor Sites, Cohoes, NY 12047; (518) 235-4500.
Search Our Web Site by Key Words: medical emergency; resident medical data
See The Model Tools For This Article
|Sample Medical Emergency Data Card|