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Practical tips to consider in a medical emergency

Practical tips to consider in a medical emergency

 Emergency hospital admissions can be really stressful for patients and carers alike, and not something we’re always prepared for. 

For this reason, we’ve put together a list of practical tips to consider in this scenario, so that you don’t need to worry about forgetting anything in the moment.

Here are our 13 top tips on being prepared in a medical emergency

  1. It is vital to know what medication your parents are taking. Have a list on your phone detailing allergies, previous surgery, chronic conditions and current medication, especially if your parent is on blood thinners like Warfarin. This information is only recorded at the GP surgery, and is not accessible out of hours. 
  2. Print out the list and pin it to the ‘fridge in case you are not available during an emergency. Paramedics will have easy access to all the necessary information and will be able to make an informed decision. 
  3. Bring any regular medication that your elderly parent or relative is taking to the hospital, or bring the list to show the hospital staff. You may need to contact their GP for further advice.
  4. Check if your elderly parent or relative has an Advance Directive  regarding medical interventions, and/or a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ (DNR) instruction.  Ask their GP if you don’t know.  The hospital needs a copy of these documents, which the GP can send.
  5. For a stay in hospital, bring nightwear, slippers, a change of clothes and a wash bag (including denture fixative, hearing aids, reading glasses etc. if relevant), as well as something for them to read/do when they’re up to it.
  6. Let people know – If they have a carer, home help or any other regular appointments, these may need to be cancelled for a while. 
  7. Inform the neighbours, so that they can keep an eye on the house.
  8. If your parent or relative’s spouse or partner remains at home, check that they are able to cope alone and can get to the hospital to visit. 
  9. You may need to make interim care arrangements for them, so speak to their GP and/or social services.
  10. Make sure you have got a spare set of keys for their home and car, if necessary.
  11. You may need to speak to the GP/hospital doctor and social services to arrange an emergency care plan for 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 the hospital discharge process explained.
  12. Arrange for any pets to be looked after. 
  13. Make sure their home is secure and that everything is switched off.  Put a stop on any regular deliveries such as milk or papers.

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.

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