After a few years of a very uncertain travel market and amid subsequent changes to the industry, many of us are resuming regular travel and taking much needed vacations. But before you hit the roads and skies for travel, be sure to prepare yourself and pack your bags for medical scenarios.
Importantly, make sure to refill all your prescriptions ahead of your trip at least one week in advance of your departure and always bring at least a few extra days’ worth of medication with you. With the state of the travel industry, there is a high probability of your return not going quite as planned. You should always pack your medications in your carry-on—not in your checked suitcase—just in case your luggage is lost.
The Pack Smart Guide from the CDC offers a checklist to help you prepare for a healthy trip, including prescriptions, medical supplies, over-the-counter medicines, supplies to prevent illness or injury, first-aid kits and important documents. Many items in this list would be especially helpful if you are heading off the grid or traveling to an exotic location where medical supplies are not conveniently available at a local drugstore.
Also, keep in mind, I do not offer travel vaccines and would need to refer you to a travel health specialist, so, please plan ahead. The CDC offers a complete list of destinations with travel health notices, recommended vaccines and precautions to consider for your specific destination.
Finally, make sure to enter my concierge contact details into your phone—including my cell number and email—and remember to pack your membership card so that you can reach me with any medical concerns during your trip. I can potentially offer a telemedicine visit, call in a prescription or, based on your destination, help to arrange a visit with a local Concierge Choice Physicians provider if needed.
As always, feel free to reach me with any questions. Safe travels!
End-of-life care planning is important while we’re still healthy, and the pandemic has made it clear that illness and disability are not reserved for the elderly. Do your loved ones know your thoughts and wishes should a situation arise? According to the National Institute on Aging, 1 in 3 people guessed incorrectly when asked how their loved one would want their end-of-life care handled. It can be an uncomfortable subject to discuss and, in some families, maybe even a taboo subject. However, advance care planning empowers our loved ones when it comes time to handle our end-of-life care and decisions and helps make sure that our preferences and arrangements are known and honored.
One primary aspect of advance care planning includes legally designating a person to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to communicate these decisions yourself. This designated person is known as a healthcare proxy (or durable power of attorney healthcare agent, surrogate, representative, attorney-in-fact, or patient advocate). A healthcare proxy decides the types of medical care, procedures, treatments, or services you receive, as well as who provides that care and where. If not otherwise predetermined in advance care directives, they may also make decisions about autopsy, tissue and organ donation, and what happens to your body after death.
The American Bar Association has a helpful guide for selecting a healthcare proxy.
Your appointed healthcare proxy will have access to your medical records. If you are a Medicare recipient, Medicare will need to know about this individual which can be communicated by completing their Authorized Representatives form.
It is important to note a separate document is required to assign a person to handle your finances. Your healthcare proxy can only make medical decisions for you. Contact your lawyer for more information on a power of attorney for your finances.
I encourage a discussion about assigning a healthcare proxy and opening the conversation of advance care planning—including a Living Will—at your next visit. For Medicare patients, this is a covered service under Medicare Part B during your Annual Wellness Visit. For non-Medicare patients, feel free to call my office to schedule an appointment, or speak with me about your advance care planning thoughts and goals at your next annual concierge physical exam.
As we enter this post-pandemic era, we are all experiencing a new normal in our work, social, travel and medical experiences. It remains to be seen what the COVID variants will evolve to, but it is clear that we all have to be vigilant about our own health and health of our families.
Membership in our concierge program is a perfect way to maintain that vigilance. A comprehensive annual exam, easy ways to connect to your physician, evaluation of disease risk factors, family history, immunization status and careful medication reviews and adjustments are the cornerstones of the practice.
Our goal is to help our patients to transition from reactive medicine in response to illness to preventative care to maintain wellness. Let’s partner toward your best health. Please contact our office to schedule your annual exam. And as always, I am available should you have any concerns or questions.