(Text sent to us by a single woman with two grown children and one parent – a mom)
Once you’ve identified who needs to be contacted if you are unable to speak for yourself, and they’ve said “yes” to holding this responsibility for you, and you’ve filled out your wallet card, you need to 1) make sure they know about each other, 2) and have access to and legal authorization to use information they might need. Additional names or information can be inserted into your card if desired. Then, you can go another step deeper, and do that with a simple email message like the one below:
To: “The Identified people”
Subject: In Case of Emergency for (your name here)
I’m sending you this email because I’ve just taken a class on Personal Safety Nets® and realized that I didn’t want to leave any of you guessing in case I was in an accident and knocked unconscious. You are the people I trust and care about most. I want to make sure you know how to reach each other, and what I’d hope you’d do if I am unable to speak for myself. Please save this in a place you could get to from any internet computer. Please reply to me (or reply all) to let me/us know you received this and if you have any questions/concerns/comments.
Step 1: Connecting with each other
Everyone on this list uses text messaging. If you get a call about me having an emergency, please text folks with a message that starts "911 re: (your name here)... see email". Please give a short version and then, as soon as possible, include longer details in an email message - you could do a Reply All to this message - just update the subject line to read: “(My name here) has been in an accident” then include details and requests for whatever help you think is needed right away. Everyone on this email could potentially help in some way or give their insights if decisions are being made.
MY KEY CONTACTS:
____ is my Power of Attorney, top on my list of who to call in Case of Emergency ('cuz he is usually in town, easy to reach, able to keep a calm head and could coordinate whatever needs doing …) ____ is also back up for with Medical issues. *Contact Info: 206-555-1212 / email@example.com
____ is my Power of Attorney for Medical Decisions ('cuz she knows how to work through the complexities of our medical systems). ___ is also back up for Legal/financial issues. She's not as easy to reach - just leave messages where ever you can: *Contact Info: 206-555-1213 / firstname.lastname@example.org
____ are (relationship) who need to notified asap and included in any decision making process. They will usually be at _______ - if you can’t reach them directly, try contacting their school or father
Contact Info: 206-555-1214 / email@example.com - * Contact Info: 206-555-1216
____ is my fantabulous mother. Finding a way for her to come see me as soon as possible will be important - she’s living independently but will probably need help with transport.
*Contact Info: 206-555-1218 / firstname.lastname@example.org
____ is my personal admin/manager with access to all my records & finance stuff. She knows my papers a lot better than I do. She also lives very close to my place. *Contact Info: 206-555-1219 / email@example.com
____ is a very dear friend and my business partner. He needs to be notified and could help
*Contact Info: 206-555-1220 / firstname.lastname@example.org
____ & ____ are two of my favorite neighbors. As busy as they are, I'd want them to be notified asap, and be invited to help as they are able. *Contact Info: 206-555-1221 / email@example.com
*Contact Info: 206-555-1222 / firstname.lastname@example.org
and last but not least! ____ is the property manager in my building and a good friend. If you need to do anything with my apartment, connect with him. *Contact Info: 206-555-1223
Step 2: Immediate decision making
I’m asking whoever is available on this list to please meet for help with initial needs analysis, decision making and immediate action plan. Pick one person - as level headed as possible - to be facilitator (first on my contact list is default, and has final veto power) but whenever possible, I’d like a group decision. If I've been in an accident there probably will be an urgent need to get the first 3 on my list to the hospital asap - and anything you all could do to help with transport and emotional support would be great.
Step 3: In case of longer term needs
While I have a red binder on my desk at my place (and ____ has the keys to my place) with my "advanced health care directive" (or FIVE WISHES Document), and signed Power of Attorney documents, I do not yet have other specific requests or info to share about who could help with other specifics during a longer term coma. If I'm lucid but incapacitated, I can help sort that out. When possible, please work as a group to get things done. Additionally, notify and reach out to my friends on Facebook - either through my Facebook account or through your own. Many Facebook friends could be helpful with specific needs or deeds that need to be done.
Step 4: Check in with each other when you need or want to
I know I'd be very concerned if any of you were in an accident (especially if unconscious) so I can imagine a lot of stress and high emotions. Please treat each other kindly and know that I trust all of you to figure things out as you would need to.
PS: Do you have a Personal Safety Net in place?
If you don't already have something like this, consider what would happen if you were suddenly unconscious - who would be contacted, and how quickly could they connect with each other? Yes, this is not uplifting to think about, but it is also not complicated to do and would save all the people you care about a whole lot of stress if you could complete this beforehand.
You can use what I’ve got above as a template or adjust it as you need. To order wallet cards please click here.