Medical Emergency

Medical Emergency – Top things to do first

If your parent or relative is admitted to hospital, here’s a checklist of things to sort out quickly in case of a medical emergency:

  • Regular medication, medical staff will need to know what they are taking. You may be able to find their medication at home, or need to contact their GP for more advice.
  • Advance Directive do they have one regarding end of medical care, and a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) instruction. Ask the GP if you don’t know. The hospital needs a copy of these documents, which the GP can send.
  • For a stay in hospital, collect nightwear, slippers, a change of clothes and a wash bag  (including denture fixative and case if relevant, hearing aids, reading glasses), something to read/do when they’re up to it.
  • Let people know – visits from a carer, home help or other regular appointments may need to be cancelled for a while. Tell the neighbours so they can keep an eye on the house.
  • If one of your parents remains at home – check that they are able to cope alone and can get to the hospital to visit.  You may need to make interim care arrangements at home, so should speak to their GP and/or social services;
  • You may need to speak to the GP/hospital doctor and social services to arrange an emergency care plan when they are discharged from hospital (this can be provided free of charge for up to 6 weeks in England and Wales, 4 weeks in Scotland). The hospital should arrange all this – see What happens when its time to be discharged.
  • Arrange for any pets to be looked after.  And of course make sure the house is secure and everything is switched off;  put a stop on any regular deliveries such as milk or papers.

You might be interested to read about getting the best care in hospital.

If you have any other tips to add to this checklist for a medical emergency, share them with others. Join the conversation in Age Space Forum.