How To Help You And Your Senior Clientele Prepare For Almost Anything
Pegasus home health care nurses in Valencia and elsewhere understand the importance of being ready to meet emergencies and disasters. They know how to help their senior clientele prepare for almost anything. Disaster planning is part of the service you provide during your career as a home health care nurse.
Age alone doesn’t mean that an individual needs preparedness assistance. However, the elderly may have physical conditions that leave them at risk in a disaster. Others may be cognitively impaired and unable to adequately prepare without help.
Statistically, many seniors are not well prepared for emergencies. They have a high rate of disaster-related deaths. Trying to evacuate can be a life-threatening endeavor.
Returning to damaged homes and possessions can be psychologically devastating. Depending on the extent of the disaster, individuals may suffer the loss of family and friends. Support systems may be overwhelmed or destroyed.
Determine Who Is Responsible For What
Preparation begins with evaluating the health condition and competence of the individual. Some of your clientele may be able to implement preparedness measures without assistance. Others are able, but they don’t understand what’s needed.
Enlist the aid of their family members or friends if necessary. At least one person should be designated as responsible for carrying out plans. That person should be trained in first aid and CPR.
Either the senior or responsible person should know how to shut off the utilities if evacuation is necessary. They also need to know how to provide an emergency power supply if required for medical equipment.
The authorities may advise people to shelter-in-place during some emergencies. Ensure that your senior client or responsible person understands the importance of complying. Suggest that they purchase a battery-powered radio, so they have a reliable source of information during a disaster.
Establish Lines Of Communication
Experts recommend that individuals make establishing lines of communication a priority. How will family members not in the same household contact each other? What if there’s no cell service?
Who will be responsible for making sure senior members are safe? Where will they meet if separated? The Red Cross provides emergency contact cards that may be helpful.
Prepare Emergency Kits
An emergency kit is necessary in the event of an evacuation. It needs to include basics such as water and non-perishable food. Checklists help make sure that nothing essential is overlooked.
Your assistance is vital for compiling a record of your patient’s mental and physical health conditions for the kit. The list should include contact information for healthcare providers. Document the dosages, timing, and purposes of all medications.
The emergency kit needs to include extra medications and OTC drugs. Ensure that the responsible person knows when to rotate medications and supplies to avoid expired or stale items. Advise them to keep ice packs in the freezer for medications like insulin.
Many individuals don’t give preparing a financial emergency kit priority. But invaluable documents are often destroyed in a disaster. Essential documents vary with each person, but in general, they include:
- Household information – documents necessary to prove the identity of everyone. That includes drivers’ licenses, birth certificates, passports, etc. Generally, these should be copies, with originals in a fireproof safe or safe deposit box.
- Financial and legal documentation – information regarding loans, credit cards, investments, bank accounts, and insurance policies.
- Other – any documentation that would create hardship if the originals are destroyed. That could be items like tax returns if they aren’t on file in a tax preparer’s office.
It’s a good idea to include cash for emergencies in the kit. If the power is off, ATMs won’t work. Businesses may not be able to process debit or credit cards.
Remind your clientele that disaster planning includes their pets. At the least, pets must be microchipped. Whether evacuating or sheltering in place, pet safety plans and pet emergency kits are essential.
Sign Up For Alerts To Stay Informed
Advise your senior clientele or responsible person to sign up for emergency alerts. For example, Wireless Emergency Alerts notifies subscribers of earthquakes, fires, and national emergencies. It’s a free service from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
Disasters and emergencies present an additional challenge for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. Many will become agitated and possibly wander away. If their family caregiver hasn’t yet enrolled their loved one in a wandering response service, recommend they do so now.
Help the senior or responsible person set up a schedule for reviewing the disaster plans. Contact information changes, emergency facilities change, and health conditions change. It’s essential to keep everything up-to-date.
Remember, all these tips apply to you as well. Prepare your own loved ones to meet emergencies and disasters. Make sure they know what to do to stay safe even if you aren’t physically there with them.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our home health care nurses in Valencia and our other locations strive to maintain the independence of our clientele. As a career home health care nurse, your assistance in helping prepare seniors for almost anything is invaluable.