Crisis Care and Planning
Even when your loved one’s health is stable, it is wise to be prepared for a crisis or a medical emergency. In this section you will find information on preparing for an Emergency Department visit or an acute care hospital stay, emergency placement in long-term care, the Alternate Level of Care or Transitional Care Unit at hospital, and Adult Protection Services.
Even though you give good care to your loved one, medical emergencies and other crises happen from time to time. Your thoughts will, of course, be focused on your care recipient and accessing the medical attention they need.
Looking for documents and medication or trying to recall details of your persons care during an emotionally charged situation may be a challenge. It is wise to have a plan.
How do you prepare for your needs when your loved one has a medical emergency? To reduce your anxiety, the article, A Caregiver’s Hospital Survival Kit, may help you collect the items you need to pre-pack your own suitcase or backpack. Be sure to include a list of people you may want to be in touch with or who may be able to give you a break. Some caregivers opt to set up private care providers and put contact information in their wallet along with other emergency contacts.
What if you are at the centre of the crisis? What if you are the patient at Emergency or admitted to hospital? Planning now for that possibility can take a lot of panic out of the moment and will afford you the time and attention to focus on yourself. If you have no one to count on in an emergency, you may want to ensure your loved one is not left alone or unmonitored by pre-arrange services with a private care provider. This can be done by arranging for an assessment and the opening of a file on your loved one so they can achieve quick deployment of paid care providers if needed.
To ensure that first responders know that a vulnerable person may be in need of care, put a big note on the fridge, in your Vial of Life, or in your wallet along with other emergency contacts. You will, of course, need a Vial-of-Life for yourself as well as a Personal Directive. Perhaps you could speak with your Care Coordinator about the ‘what if’ question – “What if something happens to me and I can’t give care?”
If you are not able to give care, you need some alternatives. Here are a few different scenarios around which you could plan:
- What if you are in Emergency and will be returning home in a few hours?
- What if you are admitted to hospital for a few days?
- What if you are released from hospital and you can supervise care but can’t actually give care?
- What if you are released from hospital and can neither give nor supervise care?
- And the hardest question may be: What if you die before your care recipient?
Our Where to Begin guide may help you prioritize and determine who will carry out caregiving tasks if you are not able in the short-term or in the long-term. Call us to discuss – it sometimes helps just to talk through your options.