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Planning for Emergencies

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Emergencies, Falls and Fire Safety

Planning for Emergencies

Emergency Planning

Carers need to know how to respond to emergencies and help prevent them. Having an distinct plan for any emergencies, helps the carer in this regard.

Carers need to have good safety precautions in place for all lines of their work. This can help prevent falls, fires, and other emergencies. In order to do so, it is important that carers keep appliances in good repair, practice personal safety, and prepare a plan for emergencies.

Elderly persons and people with disabilities are more at risk for injuries. Click on the icon to find out why.

Click here for additional information

Elderly and disabled people are more at risk for injuries because:

Living longer may bring more frailty or cognitive impairment.

Illness or medications can cause dizziness or unsteadiness.

Decreased mobility makes response times slower.

Slower response times can increase accident risk. This includes driving.

Safety hazards (rugs, pets) often exist in homes. A frail person may fall over more easily when tripped.

Having a plan in place for an emergency will help you deal with it more effectively should one emerge!

Emergency - General Guidelines

When you experience an emergency with a client, it can be quite stressful. However, it is important to remember that if you panic, you put the health of your client at risk.

Follow the guidelines below in order to deal with the emergency effectively:

STAY CALM. You help the individual just by being calm. It can provide them with sense of reassurance.

Yell for someone to assist you if possible.

DO NOT LEAVE the individual unless it is to call for help. Then return immediately.

Keep the individual’s airways open.

Emergency - General Guidelines (Continued)

You may find that during an emergency, your client is not able to respond but able to breath/ or not able to respond and not able to breath.

The correct actions to be taken in each situation are outlined below:

If client is breathing but not responding:

• Call for emergency assistance.

• Place the person on their side. This helps to keep the airway open.

• If you can't get assistance, take them to the nearest emergency center.

• Take medicine or medicine bottles with you to the emergency room.

If client is not breathing or responding:

• Have someone call help, or you leave the individual briefly and call help.

• Don't leave the individual alone except to call for help.

• Begin a CPR assessment and procedure, do not stop until help has arrived.

• Take medicine or medicine bottles with you to the emergency room.

Emergency Plan

Every individual – especially if living alone should have an emergency plan.

It should be posted in an obvious place such as the refrigerator. The plan should be kept up to date with current medications in case the individual is unable to give the paramedics the information in an emergency.

Other details that should be kept on the emergency plan include: emergency contact(s), allergies, whether or not the client has a last will written, etc.

An example of an emergency plan is available in the module resources section for this module.

Be sure that your client reviews and updates their emergency plan at least every 6 months!

The Service/ Care Plan

Every client that you will work with should have a service plan (or care plan). This will often be drawn up by the agency or the client’s next of kin.

It describes what services should be provided. The plan also lists the needs of the client and the tasks for the carer. You should be familiar with the service plan and know about the following:

Risk factors

Safety precautions

Instructions for assisting the client

Calling for Emergency Assistance

It is of utmost importance that all care workers know the phone number used to call for emergency assistance in their respective region. It is not always 911.

It is very possible a situation may arise where the care worker must make call for emergency assistance. Some numbers used to call for emergency assistance are: 911, used in United States and 112, used in Europe.

Care workers also need to be aware of the situations that would require them to call for emergency assistance. Click on the icon to read a range of such situations

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Situations that would require a call for emergency assistance would be:

• Chest pain, shortness of breath.

• Suspected heart attack, stroke or heat stroke.

• Non-responsiveness or confusion that is not common with the individual.

• Individual falls and cannot get up.

• Safety issues, such as gas leaks or fire.

Calling for Emergency Assistance – Description of Procedure

Outlined below is an example of how a care worker should call for emergency assistance – pay close attention to all steps and the lack of a sense of panic.

Stay calm, assess the client for responsiveness and ensure they are safe in the environment.

Call the number used for emergency assistance in your area (911,112,etc). State the nature of the emergency in a plain, concise tone.

Give an accurate location of the emergency and give your name and contact details.

Remain on the line until the dispatcher tells you to hang up. Render first aid as needed to the client.

Stay alert to your surroundings, staying with the client rendering assistance. Reassure and calm the client until the emergency services team arrive.

Calling for Emergency Assistance – Practical Tips

Listed below are a number of practical tips that will help you complete a successful call for emergency assistance, should it be necessary:

• Call from a land line. There are fewer dropped calls, and some emergency systems cannot locate you when you use a mobile phone.

• Have someone else call if possible. Remain focused on client and his/her needs.

• Stay with the client until transported.

If you have to call for emergency assistance from a mobile phone – be sure to give an accurate location!

Calling for Emergency Assistance – Practice Scenarios

We will now examine two practice scenarios that will present you with an emergency situation and cause you to think of the appropriate actions to take.

They are outlined below:

Practice Scenario 1

You are at a client’s home and he becomes non-responsive.

Upon checking, he is not breathing, no heartbeat is detected, and he remains slumped over in his chair. What do you do?

Practice Scenario 2

You are assisting your client with ambulation when she trips over her dog. The client falls to the floor. The client has a lot of pain in her right hip region and is not able to get up on her own.

After getting her as comfortable as you can, what will you need to do?

END of UNIT

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