There may be times in your life when you need to think about the consequences of you or a loved one becoming seriously ill and what this might mean particularly if that person is unable to make decisions for themselves.
Naturally these can be difficult conversations to have at the best of times but planning can save pain and heartache in the long run. At Action for Family Carers, we believe it is important for carers and their families to be involved in this process as much as possible.
Planning for emergencies
It can be reassuring to know as a Carer that if an emergency arises, for example, if you fall ill yourself, there will be someone to help should you need it. It is useful to create an emergency plan for you and those you look after, which can give you reassurance should the need arise in the future. It will help anyone who will be providing ongoing care for the person you look after if you are unable to do it for yourself. You can discuss this with the person you look after if you are able to.
You would need to consider and include:
- Details of the name, address and contact details of the person you look
- Who you and the person would like to be contacted in an emergency, for example, friends, family or professionals.
- Details of any medication the person you look after is taking and where it is
- Details of any ongoing treatment they
- Details of any
- Details of their GP and
- Any care and support services they
- Anything behavioural issues that others need to be aware
- Any mobility challenges and mobility aids such as wheelchair or
- How to access the property such as is there a key safe? Or does someone have a spare key
- Any key information about the person’s home, for example how to turn the central heating on
If possible, talk about the plan with the person you care for and also with those you would like to be named as emergency contacts. Give people a copy of the plan or let them know where they can find it and ensure it is kept up to date. This could help prevent a stressful situation further down the line and lift a weight from your shoulders.
You can find a useful template on Mobilise’s website.
Carers Emergency Care Plan
If you are worried about what will happen if you are suddenly unable to continue your caring role, ask to complete an Emergency Care plan when you have a Carers Assessment. This will help social care if they have to arrange care in the event there are no other family or friends able to help. Find more information here.
Lions Clubs Message in a Bottle
Lions Clubs Message in a Bottle is a simple but effective way for people to keep their basic personal and medical details where they can be found in an emergency on a standard form and in a common location – the fridge.
Paramedics, police, fire-fighters and social services know to look in the fridge when they see the Message in a Bottle stickers. The initiative provides peace of mind that prompt and appropriate medical assistance can be provided, and next of kin / emergency contacts can be notified.
Members of the public and other organisations can obtain a Message in a Bottle kit by contacting their local Lions club.
The kit includes a form, where personal and medical information is detailed. This is placed in the bottle (with its distinctive green branding), this is stored in the fridge. Two stickers are provided: one for the fridge door and the other for the inside of the front door of the premises.
In Case of Emergency (ICE)
This is a campaign started by a paramedic to help emergency staff quickly find who to contact. You can store the word ICE in your mobile phone address book with the number of the person you would like people to contact, for example your back-up carer. If something happens to you, ambulance, police or hospital staff will look for the word ICE in your phone’s address book and call that person. If your phone has a lock with a password, you can put ICE information on your phone’s lock screen. Your phone instruction manual will have information about how to do this.