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Why you should fill out your medical forms ahead of time in case you're hospitalized for COVID-19

Emergency workers stress that now is the time to do it for you and your family since some hospitals have now banned visitors in most cases.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Emergency workers say you should fill out forms with your personal medical information right now in case you or somebody you love is one day hospitalized for COVID-19.

Arlington County firefighters, along with emergency workers across our region, are suggesting you fill out medical history forms they have made available online. Emergency workers stress that now is the time to do it for you and your family, since some hospitals have now banned visitors in most cases.

“It helps us out so much,” Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Justin Tirelli said. 

He suggested a “File of Life” form, which the department has available on its website. You can fill out the form with a list of medications, allergies and emergency contacts, including your regular doctor. Emergency workers say keeping it in a place that is obvious, like on your refrigerator, can speed up care during a time when their jobs are especially risky.

“We’re not allowed to bring anyone with us now because we have to take precautions to not spread the coronavirus,” said Tirelli. “So, having that piece of paper keeps us safer, keeps the patient safer and allows us to give vital information to the hospital crews when we get there.”

Emergency workers say this also applies if you need care that is not related to coronavirus. They stress doing this if you are caring for an elderly relative. They also say it is especially useful for patients who are not native English speakers. 

Emergency workers say if you do not fill out the form, most smartphones have an emergency ID that can be accessed even if your phone is locked – and now is the time to fill it out.

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