Home care agencies can be a lot to juggle—and that’s exactly where emergency response checklists and procedures come in.
If you have yet to implement an agency-wide emergency response protocol, then Nurse2Help will get the ball rolling. Our app lists hundreds of prescreened caregivers in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area, and as such, we know how important it is for home care providers to address the unexpected in a calm and collected manner.
You heard us: Preparedness is key to any emergency situation, from severe allergies to a nasty fall. Accordingly, the time is now to implement a concrete emergency response checklist and procedure for your home care staff.
Before you take on a new client, either the patient or their loved ones should submit a document that lists the following information. Agencies should encourage caregivers to keep a copy of this emergency checklist somewhere visible in the home—posted on the fridge, for instance—or somewhere easily accessible online.
The emergency checklist should contain the patient’s:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Insurance information
- Social Security number
- Physician names & contact information
- Medical history & recent test results (if applicable)
- Current conditions & medications (including dosages)
- Resuscitation wishes (if applicable)
- Names & contact information of people to call in the event of an emergency
But being prepared shouldn’t end with the patient’s emergency checklist. You may want to institute an agency-wide protocol for urgent situations, or at the very least hold a meeting emphasizing how you would like your caregivers to handle patient emergencies. Here are some steps to include:
- Contact EMS right away. Tell your caregivers that in the event of an emergency, they should take a deep breath, call their local EMS, state the patient’s address, and describe the situation in as collected a manner as possible.
- Administer First Aid and/or CPR if needed. While we have no doubt your team is trained in First Aid and CPR, each of your caregivers should have access to a First Aid Kit while on the clock.
- Prepare an overnight bag. While caregivers don’t necessarily need to prepare a bag for the patient in advance, they should be aware of what to include—and then pack quickly if it looks like the patient might require a hospital stay. The patient’s medications, clothes, toiletries, and perhaps a favorite book or snack are a great place to start.
- Call the patient’s loved ones. After contacting EMS and tending to the patient, the home care provider should notify the patient’s family of the emergency situation.
Keep in mind that it’s normal for your caregivers to experience stress during an emergency. Encourage your team members to practice self-care in their free time, and emphasize that preparedness—along with a clear head—can work wonders. Maintaining a checklist and following an emergency protocol will save your home care staff time and anxiety, and ultimately help to protect the patient.
Please contact us for more information, and stay tuned for future home care tips, tricks, and resources.