Future planning: Being prepared for an emergency situation.
It can be hard to think clearly during an emergency. When you care for someone with a disability, planning ahead can reduce the stress associated with an emergency situation.
If you get sick and require urgent treatment, or are called away unexpectedly, having a plan provides confidence that the needs and preferences of the person you care for will be considered.
Proactive planning also assists you to act swiftly if there is a sudden change in the condition of the person you care for.
Why plan ahead?
- It’s easier for someone else to take over at short notice
- Provides a chance to think through what is best for the person in advance
- The person you care for is more likely to be looked after according to their needs
- Helps reduce the stress of unexpected situations.
Developing an emergency plan.
An emergency plan is a document that outlines important contacts, care needs and medical information that become a point of reference in an emergency.
The first step is to identify an emergency contact person who is willing and able to take your place if something unexpected happens. It’s important to ask the person first and ensure they are comfortable with the tasks required before nominating them as a contact on your emergency plan.
Where possible, it’s important to include the person you care for in discussions about what might take place in case of an emergency. Find out if they have any particular needs or concerns. Also consider how they may be able to assist. Once the plan is finalised, talk it through together so they know what to expect and can ask questions.
What to include in an emergency plan
- Name and contact details of carers, the person who the plan has been created for and your emergency contacts
- Details about the person’s illness or primary disability
- Information about the person’s care needs including things they need help with and behavioural challenges /strategies
- Contact details for organisations providing regular care and a brief description of the care provided
- If the person is an NDIS participant, it is helpful to include a copy of their current NDIS Plan and any current Service Agreements
- Medical information such as allergies, medicines, Medicare / health fund numbers and current doctors /specialists
- Emergency respite contacts – the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre (1800 052 222 during business hours or 1800 059 059 outside business hours).
Top tip: Emergency plans should be signed and dated. Remember to update the plan if something changes (like obtaining new care providers or changing medications).
Where to keep your emergency plan.
Keep your plan in a place that is safe and visible, like on the fridge or a family noticeboard. Carry a copy with you when travelling with the person you care for. Ensure your doctor and emergency contacts have a copy too.
Emergency cards help other people to help you, regardless of whether you are a carer or a person with a disability. They can be carried in a wallet or mobile phone case so you always have them when out and about.
Leap in! has created two emergency cards you can download, complete and carry with you:
- “I support a person with a disability” card – for your name, the name of the person you care for and a person who can be contacted in case of an emergency.
- “I have a support person” card – include the person’s name, condition or disability, a brief outline of the care required and the carer’s name and contact details.