BEFORE YOU DIAL 911



These are the things you should have on hand, obviously well before an event.
For adult caregivers, of which I was one, you never know when an emergency will occur. In our case it was the day of my late mother's funeral.
Dad contracted delirium, which we did not realize at the time, as a result of radiation treatments - from a urinary tract infection. The ER doc tors did not diagnose it and sent him home. His dementia overshadowed his delirium symptoms, which is not unusual. That said,
If, like me, you were a caregiver, it is even more crucial to understand this information.

1. Health Cards: including the blue hospital card. 

2. Names of all doctors, including specialists, and phone numbers. 
3. List of allergies, infections, eating disorders, addictions. 
4. Legal Documents: Advance directives; Power of attorney for personal care; Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders. These are crucial. You won't have time to go home and fetch them.
5. Major medical comorbidities. Dad had a brain tumour, dementia, painful arthritis in his knees, and used a walker (sometimes). This is  information you need to communicate to Primary Care staff.
6. List of medications and/or supplements. (Available from the pharmacy.)
7. Prior surgeries and major medical procedures
8. Names and phone numbers of extended family and close friends.
9. Activities of Daily Living. ADLs and IADLs are a good indication of personal health. It is important for a family member to understand the abilities of a loved one to take care of themselves: bathing, food prep, hygiene, banking, self-care and pet care.
10. Agency Involvement: It is important to convey to hospital staff how many caregivers, or other professionals, or public or private health services involved with the patient. Some of my clients have a PSW in twice a day, and a nurse every other day.
Abuse, neglect or self-neglect?

Read: Hospitalization for seniors for more information regarding hospitalisation and discharge.
Demand a hospital discharge plan: do not let your loved one be discharged before you are ready. Use 211Ontario.ca services locator for local supports (CCAC, private home care, day away programs, Community Home Support Volunteer offices (e.g., CHSLC.ca).
Read: Elder Self-abuse or Self Neglect

1 comment:

Greg Friese, MS, NREMT-P said...

Great list of instructions and contact information to have on hand. Especially well before an emergency occurs.

You might consider adding a reminder to your calendar to update the information monthly or quarterly. More often if the patient's conditions is changing.