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What’s in your wallet?

<p>Aaron Traynor, emergency services director at North Hawaii Community Hospital, recommends everyone carry basic medical information in their wallet, purse or backpack at all times. He will give a talk at Tutu’s House entitled “Before You Visit the Emergency Room” from 3 to 4 p.m., on Thursday, Aug. 29, as part of a new “Health Matters” series at Tutu’s House in Waimea. (PHOTO BY LISA M. DAHM| NHN)</p>

Aaron Traynor, emergency services director at North Hawaii Community Hospital, recommends everyone carry basic medical information in their wallet, purse or backpack at all times. He will give a talk at Tutu’s House entitled “Before You Visit the Emergency Room” from 3 to 4 p.m., on Thursday, Aug. 29, as part of a new “Health Matters” series at Tutu’s House in Waimea. (PHOTO BY LISA M. DAHM| NHN)

It won’t matter what is in your wallet — if it’s Capital One, or any other kind of credit card — if you wind up in the emergency room, unable to tell doctors and nurses about your allergies or medications. Aaron Traynor, emergency services director at North Hawaii Community Hospital, recommends everyone carry basic medical information in their wallet, purse or backpack at all times—and to be prepared in other ways.

To help the community learn how preparation can help make an ER visit less stressful, and possibly more effective, Traynor will talk about things to do “Before You Visit the Emergency Room” from 3 to 4 p.m., on Thursday, Aug. 29, as part of a new “Health Matters” series at Tutu’s House in Waimea.

“A little forethought goes a long way,” said Traynor, who advised people with more serious conditions, such as diabetes, to wear a medical ID bracelet or wristband.

“We have time-based protocols,” he said. “Within certain time frames we can more often do a great intervention.”

According to Traynor, there is an assessed need in North Hawaii for education about strokes and heart attacks, and his presentation will include specific information on the signs and symptoms of both. And, although different people will experience different warning signs and symptoms, it’s generally wiser to err on the side of caution and go to the ER, rather than wait for a doctor’s appointment.

“I’d much rather see someone over-activate than under-utilize,” said Traynor.

A registered nurse and certified emergency nurse with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Traynor also encourages people to talk about end-of-life choices with their family and primary care physician—before an emergency situation occurs.

“Things can happen at any point in life,” said Traynor. “All of us should give careful thought and discussion as to what we want, what choices we would make if we are not able to make them at a certain time. Ask yourself ‘How would my family know what to do?’”

Different types of legal documents can also help people prepare, according to Traynor. When discussed in advance with family members and a primary care physician, an end-of-life plan, or advance directive, can clearly outline choices about nutrition and hydration, pain relief, blood transfusions, surgery, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, and use of antibiotics. Other kinds of issues include organ donation, and funeral and memorial preferences.

Nobody wants to think about the end of life, or a trip to the emergency room, but with a bit of preparation, planning and open conversation, these issues can be at least somewhat less stressful for families when the time comes.

The “Before You Visit the Emergency Room” workshop is free and open to everyone, 3-4 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 29, Tutu’s House, a community health and wellness resource center, located in the Kamuela Business Center at 64-1032 Mamalahoa Hwy, Suite 304. The “Health Matters” talk series is presented in partnership with NHCH, and future health and wellness topics are in the works. For more information or if you have questions, please contact Tutu’s House at 885-6777 or www.tutus@tutushouse.org.