TRAVEL TIP FROM AN EMERGENCY NURSE
I've worked in rather a lot of rural Emergency facilities over our travels, and I regularly see other travellers and grey nomads presenting to my triage window, with anything from minor illnesses & injuries, to major life threatening events.
But the one thing all these travellers have in common is they're presenting to a facility they've never been to before, that knows nothing at all about them. And the problem that I face as the triage nurse, is that often they don't seem to know very much about themselves either!
There's nothing more frustrating then asking about past medical history, allergies & current medications and receiving answers like:
'Yeah I'm allergic to those tablets they gave me in hospital once. I stopped breathing. I can't quite remember what they're called'
Or 'yes I take 5 tablets in the morning, and 4 before bed. I think maybe one is for blood pressure?'
Or 'no I've got no medical history' only to discover a huge scar down the middle of their chest from the cardiac surgery they had a few years ago.
Not only is it frustrating from the perspective of making my job a little bit more difficult, but it's also frustrating that people don't take more responsibility for their own health. If you're taking 9 pills a day, you should probably at least know what they're called, and why you're taking them.
So I LOVE LOVE LOVE when someone comes in with something like you see in the picture. It's useful to help the patient remember in a stressful situation (your memory can do strange things when emergencies occur!), it's useful for a loved one to use if the patient is unable to answer questions themselves, and it helps the patient keep track & take some ownership of their own health.
A little laminated card like this is a great idea, and can be carried in a wallet with your medicare card so it's always with you (& can be easilyfound in an Emergency if you're unconscious). If you don't know this information, your GP should be able to provide it to you. In fact it's a great idea to see your GP before you travel and get them to print out a document with this information on it that you can use to make up a card like this, or to show if you need to see a doctor elsewhere in the country.
Now hopefully you'll get through your travels with no Emergencies occurring, but these things do happen, and on the odd chance they happen to you I promise your future triage nurse/doctor/paramedic will definitely thank you if you carry a little something like this!
EDIT: as many people are pointing out, an emergency contact number would also be a great addition! Preferably of someone you're not travelling with in case you're both in a car accident together.