Do you have a care bag ready to go for you or your elderly loved one in case of an emergency? Sometimes a health issue may arise suddenly and a trip to the hospital is needed. Having a care bag ready to go (also called a ready bag or a go bag) can help reduce the stress in a trying situation like this. It can be a relief for both you and your loved one to have a few items prepared ahead of time if you have to rush off to the hospital at a moment’s notice. Chances are, as we get older, that a hospital visit will be required at some point, so why not be ready for it? Here are some ideas for how you can get prepared.

Ready Bag

This can a be small backpack or a duffle bag that closes securely and has a pocket for important documents. It is a good idea to have some items for both you (as the caregiver) and your loved one, that would be helpful in such a situation. It will help you get out the door more quickly, and with less confusion.


What Should You Pack?

It is probably best to keep items to minimum and only bring what you absolutely need. You don’t want to be lugging around a giant bag in an emergency situation. Here are some suggestions of what you might bring:

  • A patient fact sheet
  • Important documents (copies are fine if you don’t want to pack the originals)
  • Medications
  • Toiletries
  • A change of clothes
  • Something to read
  • Some cash

Patient Fact Sheet

It is a good idea to bring a patient fact sheet with you. This will provide the health care professionals that are assisting you with all the information they need quickly and efficiently. Some information to include could be:

  • Full legal name
  • Existing conditions and ongoing issues
  • List of medications
  • Allergies
  • Dietary restrictions
  • Communication difficulties

Having this information ready to go can save time and get your loved one taken care of immediately.

Important Documents

Some relevant documents to bring with you are:

  • Photo ID
  • Health Card
  • Insurance information
  • Will (copy)
  • Organ donor card (if applicable)

These suggestions should help get you started. Having these few items ready to go in a time of need can save critical time and reduce the confusion and stress of the situation.