Planning for Incapacity: Identifying Authorized Health Care Agents for Incapacitated Patients
If am incapacitated, how will first responders identify me? If I cannot make medical decisions for myself, how will they know who to call, so that person can decide for me?
Assessing Clues for Identification
First responders gather clues to identify you, including, talking to the person who called 911, looking in your wallet or purse for a valid photo identification, medical information bracelets and medication containers, asking the people who were around you before you became incapacitated, and searching for the possible gold mine of your medical information – your Medical ID in your Phone.
Medical ID in Your Smart Phone
Both iPhone and Android phones have apps called Medical ID. For the Android phone, you can download the app entitled Medical ID. The iPhone comes with a preinstalled app entitled Health, and within that app, there is a section called Medical ID.
You can, and should, set these apps to allow access, even when your phone is locked. The Medical ID app has sections for you to input important, and possibly life-saving, information, such as:
- Your Name
- Date of Birth
- Medical Conditions
- Medical Notes
- Allergies & Reactions
- Blood Type
- Weight (don’t lie, they need this to calculate medication dosage)
- Emergency Contacts (this is how they know who to call)
- Organ Donation
Emergency Contacts in the Apps
You should identify the name and phone number of each of your emergency contacts here. The first person you name as your Emergency Contact should match the first person you have named as your authorized Agent on your Health Care Proxy. The second person you name as your Emergency Contact should match the second person you have named as your authorized Agent on your Health Care Proxy.
What if I don’t have a Smart Phone, like an iPhone or Android?
If you have a phone that does not support apps, then you can still identify your emergency contacts in your phone by saving each person with the letters ICE in front of the name. ICE is the acronym for In Case of Emergency. You should save ICE1 as the first person you have named as your authorized Agent in your Health Care Proxy. You should save your ICE2 as the second person you have named as your authorized Agent in your Health Care Proxy.
Health Care Proxy
Your Health Care Proxy authorizes your Agent to make medical decisions for you, if you are incapacitated and cannot make the decisions for yourself. This is the legal document that authorizes each person that you have identified in your Emergency Contacts to legally make medical decisions for you.