Care Management Team Provides a Simple Way for Patients to Share Life-Saving Information
As a leader on the care management team, Emily Caudill often follows a patient's care journey from beginning to end. After encountering several patients unable to provide medical information and without an emergency contact, Emily drew on personal experience to find a proactive solution.
“Several years ago, my grandmother had a stroke and was in an assisted living facility at the time,” she shared. “At this facility, they required that all residents have a Vial of Life, a container that includes all important health information and emergency contact information in an easily accessible place.”
The Vial of Life is a novel way to make crucial medical information readily available for family members or first responders in the case of an emergency. In most cases, it is kept in a labeled plastic vial, plastic container, or plastic bag and placed in a prominent, easy-to-find location such as the refrigerator. Additionally, it is recommended that an individual place a decal near the front door and on the refrigerator alerting first responders or family members as to where the information can be found.
In the case of Emily’s grandmother, because this information was readily available, the care she received was more efficient when she arrived at the hospital.
“When an individual arrives for emergency care and is unable to provide important information about medical conditions or medications they are taking, it can be a bit of detective work for our care teams,” Emily shared. “Without the information, additional labs and tests may be needed to gain more information. The Vial of Life can be a time saver, a cost saver, and, in some cases, a lifesaver.”
Currently, Emily is working with the care management team to provide the kits, including the vials and the forms, to interested St. Vincent patients during discharge and encourage them to use them. Especially for patients that live alone and may not have an emergency contact in our community, having a Vial of Life could have a significant impact.
Several other care management teams across the Peaks Region are considering implementing the program at their respective sites after the St. Vincent team successfully presented their pilot program at a recent regional meeting.
For the initial pilot, Emily partnered with the St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation to provide the kits to patients.