Sunday, July 13, 2014

How to Create a Family Caregiver's Home Health Emergency Care Plan

 This article was first published by at Yahoo Contributors but they are going out of business and the rights have reverted back to me. So if it seems out of order to the rest of the content here, that is the reason.

 Having been a caregiver for my stroke survivor husband for the past seven years, and having share-cared for my dementia inflicted father the five years before my husband's stroke, I've learned a lot about the need to write an Emergency Care Plan. Family caregivers occasionally get sick or have other set backs that can put their care recipient in a dangerous position if an Emergency Care Plan is not already set in place. Unfortunately, I know from being a mentor on a stroke support website that most caregivers don't have an Emergency Care Plan and that is a potentially life-threatening mistake. What should be in your plan? An Emergency Care Plan should include all essential information another person needs to know to take over in your absence, be it a few days or longer. When you write your first plan, take your time and be as detailed as you can. Updating the plan periodically after that will only take a few minutes. The seven essential pages to include in an Emergency Care Plan are:

1) Medical Emergency Contact Information When you create your own Emergency Care Plan be sure your medical contact page includes the names, addresses and phone numbers of all the doctors your care recipient sees to manage their condition. List all contact information for medical insurance companies. Also include the dentist, hearing center, eye doctor and other medical services you may use for lesser emergencies that could come up in your absence. In addition include your hospital, pharmacy, wheelchair repair service (if applicable), and the contact information for the person who holds the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and the contact information for the successor should the primary patient advocate is not able to act.

2) Family Contact Information List all the people who'd need to be called should there be a medical emergency requiring hospitalization of your care recipient. Also make a note of which family or friends might be willing to patient-sit in your home for an hour or two, if needed, to back up the person who takes over in your absence.

3) Health Condition Information This page of the Emergency Care Plan needs to list of all the medical conditions that apply to your loved one.

4) Medications and Testing Needs On this page include not only the name of the drugs and dosages your loved one needs but also the times of days to dispense the medications, where you keep the bottles in the house, and what each drug is for. If testing is required to manage something like diabetes or high blood pressure list the frequency and target ranges and what to do if your loved one tests out of the range.

5) Daily Routine The family caregiver assists their loved one in way they often take for granted but it's important to pass these things on to someone taking over in a temporary situation. When you make your Emergency Care Plan be sure to write out detailed instructions for: special toileting requirements, transfers, showers, dressing, exercises or therapies, and daily routines, etc.
6) Meals and Food List any special dietary needs your loved one has including the time frames meals are usually served. List all foods and liquids that are not allowed because of drug interactions, swallowing issues or allergies.

7) Home Health Care Services In a worst case scenario where an outside service (rather than another family member) needs to be called your Emergency Care Plan should include contact information for professional home care services that you've checked out and/or prefer to use for your family member. If there are senior daycare services available where you live, list those too. A family member might be able to better manage taking over for you if they can use daycare. When you finishing writing your Emergency Care Plan be sure to carry in your wallet an easy-to-find paper telling where you keep your plan, should you get in an accident and not be able to talk.

The above seven pages are essential for your Emergency Care Plan. My plan also includes: a) A page for our vehicle that includes how to transfer my husband between the car and his wheelchair, how to operate the Bruno chair lift, insurance information, and who we use for service; b) A page for the care and feeding of our dog including some boarding options should that become necessary; c) A page for the care of our house and plants including insurance information and who we call for appliance repair, etc.; and d) An information page about my own health issues, my POA and medical contacts.

No one is immune to having a medical event or accident, caregivers included. If you are a caregiver without an Emergency Care Plan start planning yours today. If you know a caregiver---perhaps a parent, grandparent or friend---e-mail this article to them via the link at the top. It could literally save the life of someone you care about or take a lot of stress off from anyone who has to take over care in an emergency situation. ©

NOTE: Feel free to post a brief excerpt and link back to this article where ever you wish but do NOT copy and paste the entire article without the written permission of the author.

Published by Jean Riva

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