“Home” brings to mind many thoughts. A sense of peace and security, a place to return to and relax, and where you can find warmth and comfort in your family. But those of us with elderly family members or those with disabilities can attest, home can also be a place of distress should a medical emergency arise. In fact, more than 6,000 people die every year as a result of a home accident, and ambulance response times can vary greatly depending on your location and distance from a hospital. To help avoid a family medical emergency at home, you should consider the following tips to keep your family safe at the place they feel the most secure.
Create a Home Emergency Plan
Useful in many emergency scenarios including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and individual medical emergencies, a home emergency plan that involves all members of your household can be a vital tool in preventing further injury or death during a medical emergency. Training younger members of your family on how and when to call 911, for instance, is of the highest importance should an emergency situation befall an older member of the family. In addition, keeping copies your family’s medical history and personal documents in a central location will help medical responders better assess and treat their patients.
Keep Your Medication Names and Dosages Easily Accessible
For those suffering from medical conditions or with disabilities that require medication, having the details of these medicines easily available for emergency medical professionals to assess and process can be hugely beneficial and may even save the person’s life during the event of a medical emergency. Keeping a list in your wallet or taking a photo with your phone are both great ways of maintaining your list of medications in an easily accessible way.
Use ICE and Wear Medical Jewelry
Especially important for elderly family members, keeping an accessible list of emergency contacts in your wallet or on a smartphone is critical whether you’re at home or not. For instance, making a list of emergency contacts and using it as your phone’s lock screen screensaver will allow first responders to contact loved ones without requiring access to the phone itself. And for elderly people with chronic medical conditions, keeping medical jewelry on at all times is a life-saving precaution that should be adhered to no matter the situation.
Employ Modern Technologies to Stay Safe
Home monitoring solutions are easier than ever to come by. With wearables that allow for communication and heart monitoring to bracelets and necklaces with dedicated buttons for emergency calls, there’s a greater chance for peace of mind at home no matter the age and condition of your elderly family members. In addition, smart gadgets like cameras, connected speakers, and medical alert systems allow for monitoring and communications even while you’re away.
Consider Learning CPR
No one takes CPR certification with the hopes that they’ll someday use it, but knowing proper CPR techniques can be a life-saving skill. Especially with an elderly or ill family member, having someone in the family who knows CPR as well as the proper use for automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) can be the difference between life and death. To learn more or to sign up for a CPR or AED class (as well as online classes), check out the American Red Cross.
While it’s impossible to completely prevent a medical emergency from taking place, making steps like these will drastically increase the chances of surviving a major medical event at home and improve the safety and security of all of your family members, no matter their ages or medical conditions.