Home Care and Caregiving Services in Birmingham, MI

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On February 21, 2013, Posted by , In Caregivers,Home Care, By ,, , With Comments Off on Home Care and Caregiving Services in Birmingham, MI

Prepare for a Medical Emergency

Just about everyone with an aging parent anticipates the possibility of a medical emergency. The circumstance you are likely most concerned about is that moment when you learn your mother or father has suffered a significant event and aggressive intervention is necessary. That moment changes your parent’s life and yours.

If and when it happens, try to remain calm and remember that the sooner your parent receives medical attention, the better his or her chance for recovery. Your objective is to get that attention as soon as possible.

911 to the hospital
If you are present when a life-threatening event occurs, immediately call 911. If you are alerted to the emergency by a third party, instruct them to hang up and dial 911, or if you prefer, hang up and do it yourself.  Under no circumstances should you attempt (or instruct a family member or friend) to drive a seriously ill older adult to the hospital in a personal vehicle. Transporting an ailing parent without the benefit of medical support adds unnecessary risk to an already perilous situation.

When the ambulance responds to the emergency call, the EMTs will confirm the information relayed from the 911 operator, then request specifics from you about the event and/or your parent’s condition. They will inquire as to allergies and medications. TheEMTalso will take possession of pertinent documents in preparation for transport to the hospital. Medical orders are received from consulting physicians via the radio, so they will be engaged in a dialogue with a doctor as they work. TheEMT’s objective will be to stabilize your parent’s condition as best they can before heading out to the hospital.

Hospital admission and your parent’s treatment
After arrival, the next steps depend on the nature of the emergency. When the time comes and your parent is slated for admission, find the admitting physician and ask for a rundown of your parent’s condition and why he or she needs to be admitted (request a written copy of the diagnosis, as well).

During your parent’s stay in the hospital, be a strong advocate and make every visit count. One of the most effective strategies for “staying in the loop” is to introduce yourself and befriend the nurses charged with your parent’s care. Nurses can provide a wealth of information. Be kind and respectful, but do not be afraid to ask questions. Learn all you can about your parent’s medical problem during your “off hours” to inform your dialogue with the professionals about treatment, both present and future. Begin to educate yourself on the kind of care that will be needed after discharge.

If you can, be present when your parent’s doctor conducts rounds. You will not only strengthen your relationship with the physician, but also you will pick up details about diagnosis and treatment. Keep a small notebook with you at all times and write everything down – including any questions and concerns that arise through the day, or simple observations about your parent’s behavior and demeanor. At any point during a parent’s hospitalization (it is never too soon), pay a visit to the discharge planner or social worker, and ask that person to spell out the options available to you and your parent after leaving the hospital.

Discharge and the return to home (or rehab)
If your parent is going home, ask the hospital’s discharge planner to work with you to make sure the space he or she returns to is safe and comfortable. The planner can help you to understand the services necessary for an effective in-home recovery and also will identify the local agencies that provide those services and treatments. If your parent requires a nursing home or rehabilitation facility, tell the planner you wish to approve the facility prior to transfer.  Plan to visit the facility or at least call and speak to the facility’s director.

Important information to have on-hand
To be prepared for a medical emergency, the Mayo Clinic suggests a caregiver know ten things about an aging adult:

  1. Doctors’ names
  2. Parent’s birthdate
  3. List of allergies
  4. Advance directive
  5. Major medical problems
  6. List of medications and nutritional supplements
  7. A record of the parent’s religious beliefs
  8. Insurance information
  9. Prior surgeries and major medical procedures
  10. Lifestyle information (Does the parent drink alcohol or use tobacco?)

Strongly encourage your parent to prepare and execute an advance directive, living will and a health care durable power of attorney. The advance directive and living will spell out your parent’s preferences regarding medical treatment in a variety of circumstances, while the health care durable power of attorney authorizes an individual to made medical decisions on your parent’s behalf when he or she is unable, and it also grants that person access to important medical records.

 

Source:  http://www.parentgiving.com

Contact Pure Home Care Services at (586) 293-2457 today!  If you live in Birmingham or the surrounding area, we can help you care for your loved ones.

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