Part of spending life at home with your senior loved one is the preparation for the unexpected. You hope to never need a trip to the emergency room with your loved one, but there are times when immediate medical attention is a necessity.
When an emergency room visit becomes necessary, you may find yourself and your senior loved one feeling panicked. Here are a few steps to help you remain calm in an emergency and enjoy life at home, knowing that you are prepared if an emergency occurs:
Have an Emergency Room Kit
When you get to the emergency room, you will immediately be asked about insurance coverage and medical history, including medications and allergies. In order to make sure you have all the information ready, create a kit that includes several items:
- Medical history summary, including allergies and a list of current medications
- Emergency contact list
- Copies of current insurance cards
- Copies of any legal documents, such as a living will
- Extra clothing
- Toiletries for both you and your loved one
- A family photo or other comfort item
It may also be helpful to keep an “in case of emergency” card in a purse or wallet, with a compressed version of the medical information.
Include ICE Contacts on Your Loved One’s Cell Phone
You can add contacts on your loved one’s cell phone for “in case of emergency” (ICE) that connect to your phone number or another caregiver. This may be particularly helpful if your loved one arrives at the emergency room confused or unable to answer questions.
Practice Driving the Fastest Route to the Hospital
However, just in case you are in a panicked state when you need to go to the hospital, consider adding the directions to your emergency room kit. Sometimes it even makes more sense to call an ambulance if:
- Your loved one has a condition that appears to be life-threatening
- You think your loved one’s condition could become worse on a drive to the hospital
- It appears that moving your loved one could cause injury
- Your loved one requires the help of a paramedic, immediately
- Heavy traffic could prevent you getting to the hospital
Check to be sure that your loved one lives in an area covered by 911 service. If not, keep the number to the local emergency medical service with your emergency room kit.
It may be difficult to determine whether your loved one needs the care of an emergency department. Generally, there are a few red flags that mean your loved one needs emergency medical care:
- Difficulty breathing
- Vision changes
- Speaking problems
- Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
- Severe pain
- Suicidal thoughts
Preparing for a potential emergency room visit can help you and your loved one enjoy life at home. If you need additional help or information on the best ways to care for your loved one at home, please call the experts at Freudenthal Home Health.