File of Life Document Considered a Lifesaver Especially for Older Adults

Dec 27, 2023

Worcester, Mass. – Make sure you keep a File of Life in your home; it just might save your or a loved one’s life.

Saint Vincent Hospital is pleased to make available the File of Life document. During a medical emergency, there is often a lot of confusion, panic, and urgency. The File of Life puts vital information in the hands of emergency first responders and allows them to immediately begin treatment based upon the patient's medical history and prescription information.

“Having a File of Life in your home has numerous benefits,” says Adam Darnobid, MD, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Saint Vincent Hospital. “Immediately knowing the individual’s medical history, first responders can begin corrective treatment at once. And when arriving at the Emergency Department, data will be helpful to medial staff so there is no time wasted getting information from a confused, anxious or ill patient.”

The File of Life is a red, magnetic packet that contains important medical information about the individual as well as list contact information for their doctor, family members, insurance information and any other special circumstances that rescue personnel should know. It is designed to help the local fire department, paramedics, and emergency rooms obtain the necessary medical history and emergency contact information in an emergency. It is kept in plain sight, usually on a refrigerator, in a bright red pouch. The form should be reviewed and updated as needed every six months.

The information on the form should include:

  • Existing conditions or chronic illnesses
  • Current medications (including over-the-counter medications taken regularly) with dosages and schedules
  • Allergies to any medications and food sensitivities
  • Regular healthcare providers (names and phone numbers), including the primary care physician and any specialists, along with the specific conditions each specialist is addressing
  • Special dietary considerations, such as low sodium, gluten-free, kosher, vegetarian
  • Communication issues, such as confusion, speech or hearing impairments, language preferences
  • Emergency contact information for trusted family members or friends

“Individuals who have a File of Life have peace of mind knowing they will have prompt and quality care because of the easy access to potentially life-saving information on the form,” says Dr. Darnobid.

To obtain a File of Life document, please visit us at and complete the form on the website to have one mailed to you.

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