Building a Medical Emergency “Grab ‘n Go” Book

My elderly mom came to live me and one day she got sick and I had to call 911. They arrived quickly and started hitting me with questions about her medical history, allergies, surgeries, medication types, frequencies and doses. I knew very little of this information off the top of my head. My mom was ok but there had to be a better a way to deal with emergency information. Then I got smart.

I made my mom a Medical Emergency “Grab ‘n Go” Book. The next time she felt bad, I handed the EMTs her “book.” They had all the information they needed in one place and I could focus on my mother’s well-being.

A one-inch notebook is all you need. Here are some suggested contents:

-Copy of your Advanced Medical Directive

-Power of Attorney/(in loco parentis for kids)

-A list of medications (frequencies and doses)

-Copies front and back of insurance cards

-Copy front and back of driver’s license or other picture ID card

-List of allergies

-List of doctors, pharmacies (with addresses, phones and fax numbers)

-List of emergency contacts

-Dates of important medical events/procedures/surgeries

-Extra blank pages for you to take notes, etc.

It’s great for kids, too. Babysitters and grandparents will appreciate having this information at the ready. Take it with you to routine doctor’s appointments and take notes during the visit! Consider scanning it and sending it to your phone or email so you can have access to it away from home.

WARNING: As with all personal information of this nature, you should use extreme caution in whom you allow access and take steps to strongly password protect any electronic files containing personally identifiable information.

Next time, we’ll discuss ways to estate plan for children of blended families.


Active duty or retired Servicemembers and their ID card holder Family Members may be eligible for free legal assistance. To find a legal assistance office near you, call your nearest military installation or go to __________________________

Mary Benzinger is the Army Legal Assistance Attorney at the Pentagon Army and Air Force Legal Assistance Office, Washington, D.C.