Emergency Checklist for Seniors and Caregivers
Emergencies can happen anytime, especially for the elderly. When you combine their high risk of falls, varying signs of aging, and any acute illnesses, the chance of an incident occurring increases even more. As a caregiver, it’s important that you have the necessary information close at hand to assist you through any sort of emergency. One of your first matters of business should be creating an emergency checklist or packet filled with any vital information regarding each of your patients. Whatever information you don’t have access to as a caregiver can be obtained from family members. From doctors’ names to insurance policy info, here’s everything you need to have as an in-home care provider in Fullerton.
In the event of an emergency, it’s crucial that you have the pertinent information for your patient. Emergencies happen without warning. Oftentimes, it can leave the patient and the caregiver feeling helpless. It’s important to keep your bearings during an incident. Part of this responsibility is keeping careful record of your patient’s medical information. If paramedics arrive to treat the person you’re caring for, be sure to give them the necessary information that they will need to know, it could impact the lifesaving care they receive. Always keep a list of the general practitioners, specialists, and any other medical professionals that your patient sees regularly. This list should include the names, phone numbers, and specialties of each provider. Along with medical professional information, keep a list of medications attached as well. Carefully note the name of the prescription, use, and dosage on the list. Because these lists may change frequently, make it a priority to update them it as needed.
Medical conditions and history should also be noted. In the event of an emergency, first responders will need to know a brief history of the person they’re treating. For example, do they have a heart condition or an allergy to morphine? Diabetes, MS, and other chronic illnesses should also be reported. This sort of information can drastically alter the treatment that’s administered to a patient during an emergency.
While medical information should always be given first during an emergency, personal information should be a close second. Your patient’s full name and date of birth are necessary when seeking admittance into a hospital. Along with basic information, keep a list of close family members’ names and phone numbers. With contact information close by, you can alert loved ones as soon as an emergency occurs. Keep in mind that while you’re the caregiver, the family of your patient will want to be notified as quickly as possible and kept abreast of the situation. Due to HIPAA policies, you’ll be unable to receive and relay information to the family. The doctors treating your patient will only be able to communicate any private updates directly to family members.
If your patient is religious, they may have a local clergy or parish that they want to have contacted in the event of an emergency. Depending on their religious affiliation, contacting these individuals may be crucial to their healing process or dealing with the aftermath of an incident.
Basic insurance policy information should be kept on hand at all times. Along with being helpful when picking up prescriptions or taking your patient to the doctor, insurance information is extremely important during an emergency. While it doesn’t dictate the quality of care that the patient receives, it allows the treating hospital to make billing arrangements accordingly. The insurance information noted on your emergency checklist should include the name of the provider, plan name, and identification number. If there is a separate prescription plan, the policy information should also be noted.
In order to retrieve any other plan information that might be needed in the event of an emergency, you’ll most likely need the Social Security number of your patient. Keep in mind that being trusted with someone else’s Social Security number is a sign of trust. Do whatever is necessary to safeguard this number. If your patient doesn’t feel comfortable supplying you with their Social Security number, that’s okay. Simply ensure that a family member or health care proxy has access to the number so that any vital information can be retrieved.
While you may be a trusted caregiver, that doesn’t give you the authority to make medical decisions on behalf of your patients. Unless you’re a designated healthcare proxy, you have no rights when it comes to emergencies. In fact, you most likely will not be given updates as to the status of your patient or any health issues that arise. This information is reserved for health care proxies and family members. If you have been granted this authority, a legal document should have been provided to you. Your health care proxy form, or the health care proxy form of any other individuals, should be included with your list of emergency information.
In some cases, an emergency may leave a patient incapacitated. In this case, the person appointed in the power of attorney document is the one allowed to handle any legal and financial issues. This legally binding document is typically part of a living will. The form should be kept with all other legal documents to prove the authority designated to a specific individual.
It’s also very important that you have on hand a document stating the resuscitation wishes of your patient or their family. If your patient isn’t competent to make medical decisions on their own, their family members or healthcare proxy may have set forth resuscitation orders. Without understanding this information, it’s impossible to know how to handle an emergency if it arises.
Preparing an emergency packet and checklist is an important part of providing adequate in-home care in Fullerton. Whether you’re the healthcare provider or a family member preparing the information for your hired caregiver, make sure that you have all of the needed documents in order. Then, in the event of an emergency, you’re prepared for whatever happens.