How to Prepare for a Medical Emergency
There is no guarantee in life about you or your loved one never having a medical emergency. You can take some steps to help the situation if it does happen. Taking these steps will also prepare you for other emergency situations.
Copies of paperwork you will need for each loved one in your household.
· A medicines list with strength and dosage times.
· A list of medical conditions.
· A list of surgeries with dates.
· A copy of a living will.
· A copy of a medical power of attorney (if you do not have one, it’s a good idea to get one.)
The lists above need to be updated when medicines and medical conditions change. Make sure to destroy the old lists.
Several things to keep handy for grabbing quick or stored in your vehicle like:
· A lightweight but warm blanket for each person plus one extra (they can be rolled up to save space).
· A pillow for each person plus one (they can be small).
· A small overnight bag (one with rollers is ideal because you can put a blanket and pillow on top of the bag so you have your arms free).
Suggested items to put in your overnight bag:
· Underclothes including socks (2 sets---family can always bring more if needed).
· One pair of pants and 2 shirts so you can vary your wardrobe if your stay is a few days.
· A wash cloth and small bar of soap --- each in its own plastic bag.
· Basic beauty supplies including a comb.
· Personal hygiene supplies like; deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste etc.
· Three days worth of prescription medicines for each---make sure you replace each month so the meds are always fresh.
· Over-the-counter medicines and vitamins you may take on a daily basis.
· A small first aid kit that includes band-aids, anti-bacterial cream, itching, headache, stomach, pain, and allergy remedies.
· A lightweight warm-up for sleeping more comfortably.
· A pair of slippers and a change of shoes.
· A small stenographer’s notebook.
· A lightweight jacket.
There may be other things that you may think of that you might need. I tend to over prepare but then I have had a lot of practice in the last 2 years.
I usually throw in a few packages of snacks, mints, packs of sugar-free sweeteners, and even a couple of bottles of water.
You may wonder why I listed a stenographer’s notebook. This notebook is to keep records of everyone who takes care of your loved one on each shift.
It is also a good way to track the medicines that they are given and the times. Anything you can think of or witness that might aid in the care of your loved one is something you might want to record.
This tip was given to me by a dear friend who kept her husband from being given a double dose of powerful medicines by the nurses (one didn't know what the other one had done). She had kept a notebook with the names of the medicines and the times they were given so when the second nurse came in she was able to stop that dose from being given. If you don’t write it down, it didn’t happen!
You know, most nurses like it when you pay attention because they do not want a medical mistake to happen either. As long as you approach the medical team with respect and kindness, they will answer all of your questions with the same attitude. When you act aggressive, demanding, and accusing to them, you may not get the excellent care that you expect.
I have found that when you ask questions about the meds given and write the answers in your notebook, they seem to give better care to your love one. And like they have told me, do not be afraid to ask.
I hope this helps you if you or a loved one has a hospital stay in the near future.