When it comes to emergencies, we need to exercise a little more preparation and care to keep an aging loved one safe and comfortable.
Emergencies can come in the form of an unexpected disaster that calls for evacuation, or it can be a fall or accident that requires immediate care.
Let’s take a look at how caregivers can be prepared for both types of emergencies. It’s helpful to have a checklist for evacuation and a checklist for hospital stays.
No matter where you live, there’s always the possibility of a natural or man-made disaster to cause havoc. Earthquakes, wildfires or mudslides can strike without warning. In addition to natural disasters, things like blackouts or brownouts, food and gas shortages can cause great stress to you and your aging loved one if unprepared.
The best preparation is to have a well-stocked emergency kit. The Red Cross has a great checklist for what to put in this kit. Some of these items include:
- A gallon of water per person, per day
- 3-day supply of non-perishable food items
- First-aid kit
- Multi-purpose tools
- Personal information
It’s likely your aging loved one has medications and medical devices that are crucial to their health and comfort. Make sure you have at least a 7-day supply of medication available and if necessary, batteries and chargers for their medical devices.
In addition to a well-thought-out emergency kit, ensure important documents are in a safe and accessible place in case of a quick evacuation. This may include important medical information for your loved one, key financial documents, and an emergency contact list.
In the spirit of being proactive, we also need to know the best way to evacuate the home in case of a disaster. Be familiar with the fire exits of your home or apartment, and make sure there are no obstructions that could encourage a slip or fall.
Unfortunately, a part of aging is becoming more susceptible to slips and falls. As we age, we don’t recover as fast as we used to.
There are a lot of factors that can lead to hospitalization at any time for our loved ones and we need to be prepared if emergency care is required. The first and most important piece of information we should have is an emergency contact list that’s visible and easily accessible.
If you’re not related to the senior you’re taking care of, you should have all relevant family members on this contact list. In emergencies, the family of the senior should be notified of the emergency as soon as possible. Not only will they want to know right away, but under HIPAA policies, the doctors in charge of emergency care can only relay healthcare updates to members of the senior’s family.
You should have your senior’s primary physician on this contact list too in case you or the emergency care doctor needs to get in contact with them for further information.
Information such as allergies, a list of medications they’re currently taking along with the current dosage, hospitalization history, vaccinations, and a contact list of all the doctors and specialists they’re seeing should also be in an easily accessible location.
If it’s a critical situation that requires first responders, they may need pertinent medical information at a moment’s notice to help care for your loved one. The more quickly they have this information, the faster your loved one can receive the correct care.
Lastly, in the case of a hospitalization emergency, you’re going to need to have their insurance information on hand when you get to the hospital. Usually, an insurance card will suffice, but make sure it includes vital information such as the provider, the name of the plan, the type of plan, the group number, and the member number. The staff at the hospital will want this information as soon as possible, so make sure it’s part of your important documents when preparing for a hospital emergency.
Questions About Emergency Situations?
It’s an important part of any professional caregiver’s job to be prepared for emergencies. If you have any questions about how an in-home caregiver responds to emergencies, or have questions about in-home care in general, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Golden Care takes pride in being San Diego’s choice for in-home care.