Emergencies can happen when we least expect them to and many of the requests for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) happen within the home. First responders rely heavily upon the patient, and/or the patient’s family members, to provide a variety of information used to help in the treatment and care of the patient. The information includes past pertinent medical history, allergies to medications, medications currently prescribed to the patient, advanced medical directives and any additional information. However, there are times when the patient is unable to provide this information and family may not be present to assist.
The L.I.F.E. File is a simple tool individuals and families may use to assist the emergency medical responders during a medical emergency. The L.I.F.E. File pouch is a vinyl magnetic pouch that is placed in an easily seen location on the refrigerator. The L.I.F.E. File form that is contained within the pouch is to be completed for each person living in the home. (One form per person) The information on the form will allow emergency medical responders to quickly learn about the patients past medical history, current medications the patient is taking, be alerted to any medication allergies the patient may have and much more information to assist the first responders in providing the best care possible for the patient.
Everyone should have a L.I.F.E. File as emergencies can happen at any time to anyone. However, there are individuals that are more likely to benefit from the L.I.F.E. File. Senior citizens and individuals with chronic disease or illness are more likely to use emergency medical services and are highly recommended to utilize the L.I.F.E. File.
Medical emergencies can be stressful to the patient and for the patient's loved ones. During these times of stress, it can be difficult to remember the information or recall it quickly for the emergency personnel. There are also occasions where the medical emergency involves an unconscious individual who cannot provide the information needed. In these situations, the L.I.F.E. File is just that, Lifesaving Information For Emergencies.
L.I.F.E. File kits are available through your local San Jose fire department stations or by contacting the San Jose Fire Fighters union. You can download the L.I.F.E File form here once you have the life file.
The L.I.F.E. File form as well as any advanced directives, do not resuscitate documents, and/or POLST (Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) forms should be placed within the L.I.F.E. File pouch. It is important to mark on the L.I.F.E. File form if the person has any of these documents but the documents are required to be present for emergency personnel to abide by the document's instructions.
The L.I.F.E. pouch should be placed in an easily seen location on the front or side of the refrigerator. If the L.I.F.E. pouch does not adhere to your refrigerator an alternative is to place the pouch in a gallon size ziplock bag and tape the bag to the refrigerator.