The Vial-of-Life provides a means by which every resident of Charlestown can ensure that the Charlestown Security and Emergency Services have up-to-date medical and personal information that they need when responding to a medical emergency. It consists of a Vial-of Life form, a special container for that form, and a special sticker to identify the container. You can obtain these items from Charlestown’s Security and Emergency Services office. The form is provided HERE for your convenience, especially if any medication changes require that you update your information.
The EMS crew emphasizes the importance of keeping this information up-to-date, inside your refrigerator door. Equally important, is placing a Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST), if you have one, with your Vial-of-Life, on the front of your refrigerator door or on the back of your apartment front door. A MOLST form can be obtained ONLINE, from your physician or from the Medical Center, but must be signed by a physician. These forms allow rapid identification of those patients who have chosen either directly or through their legally authorized representatives, NOT to be resuscitated in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest.*
However, this form cannot always help you if a life-threatening emergency occurs when you are away from your apartment home. Lisa Roeder, Charlestown Social Work Manager, notes in a back page article of the November 2017 Sunburst, if you do not have this form on your person, the EMS responders must do full CPR and transport to a hospital. To alleviate this situation, you can get a DNR (Do not resuscitate) pendant or bracelet to wear at all times.
A DNR order means that if cardiac arrest occurs – if your heart stops beating and you stop breathing – cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) will not be performed to revive you. A DNR order, whether in a hospital or non-hospital setting is a type of advance instruction you may give about your treatment.*
The Vial-of-Life form is accompanied by narrative explaining the value and importance of the program. For more information on MOLST and ordering a DNR bracelet/pendant, see the Maryland MOLST website and talk to your physician (at the Medical Center or elsewhere) or your Resident Services Coordinator/Social Worker.
*Additional information added from Do Not Resuscitate: Guidelines to Residents, Families & Caregivers , submitted by Joshua Jones – SES/EMR (Feb. 2018)