Whether you’re looking for the best ER in your hometown or you want to create a wallet-size medical card, these websites can be lifesavers.

By Karen L. Smith
 Scott & Zoe

  • To compare the performance of your neighborhood hospital with that of others, go to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website: hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.
  • The National Report Card on the State of Emergency Medicine rates state support for emergency patients. You can find out how your state did in five categories (access to emergency care; medical-liability environment; quality and patient-safety environment; public health and injury prevention; and disaster preparedness) at emreportcard.org.
  • To create your own wallet-size medical card, go to medids.com/free-id.php.
  • An advance directive is a legal document that functions as a combined durable power of attorney for health care and a living will, and it can be amended at any time. Fill out one for yourself, and ask an elderly parent to do the same at aafp.org/afp/990201ap/617.html.
  • In case of emergency during your absence, your caregiver should be able to make medical decisions for your child. Fill out a consent-to-treat form at emergencycareforyou.org/workarea/showcontent.aspx?id=668.
  • Want to bypass the ER? Find an urgent-care center in your area to handle acute illnesses. Go to ucaoa.org//buyers/by_state.html.