Tips to Create A Health Emergency Plan - You Could Save A Life
As if things weren’t bad enough – having to deal with frigid temperatures and the necessity to stay indoors to avoid an exacerbation – I read something on Facebook that stopped me in my tracks and put everything into perspective.
A woman living a few miles from me, someone I never knew, was found dead in her home after falling down a flight of stairs. She had Multiple Sclerosis. Apparently the woman had been dead for three weeks. Her dog, alive when she died, had passed away as well. It took three weeks for someone to discover them.
I cried and cried. For the woman, for her dog, and for the tragic and senseless loss.
Then I wrote a comment on the thread on Facebook, about how I wish I’d known about this woman because I may have been able to help her.
A handful of times I’ve helped others in my town when they were having a difficult time with their MS. Perhaps I could have helped her as well.
In a world of instant communication where we can “speak” to each other within seconds using a computer or telephone, we forget there are people in the world who are unable to reach out for help because of financial, physical or emotional reasons.
That’s why we all need to make sure that we, the people we know, and even those we don’t, have a way to communicate with the outside world. We need to make sure we’re all prepared in case of an emergency, particularly those who are alone and most vulnerable.
My heart will always ache for the woman and her dog. To prevent something like this from happening again we all need an emergency plan.
And while we’re thinking about creating an emergency plan for ourselves and our loved ones, consider reaching out to help others, such as seniors, the disabled or anyone living alone, to help them create an emergency plan as well.
Schedule a visit with anyone you think may need an emergency plan, and ask if you can discuss this important topic with them. If may be difficult for them to open up at first, but if they’re willing to discuss it you may just be saving their life.
Here are a few things to consider when making any emergency plan:
Enlist a support network. Make arrangements with neighbors, family and friends that you trust to be placed on a “Master List” of people who are called in case of an emergency. Exchange phone numbers and email addresses, have the list typed up and place it somewhere in your home where it can easily be seen.
Once you have your support network in place the following information should be shared:
- Where your emergency supplies are located in your home.
- Health information (including a list of prescribed medications), what hospitals you prefer and where important documents are stored.
- Exchange important keys.
- Decide how to contact each other in case of loss of electricity, and practice how you will do so.
- If you have an alarm system exchange passwords.
Important telephone numbers. If you’re unable to speak and your “Master List” can’t be found, your cell phone can also provide important information. I’ve listed 9-1-1, the local police non-emergency number, and the phone numbers for several doctors (including my veterinarian) in my Contact List under “Emergency” - consider doing the same.
Create a neighborhood watch for those who need it most. Perhaps you can also create a way of contacting everyone on the list using social media, email or text.
A medical alert service that offers immediate assistance for help and rescue. Research and compare plans that offer 24/7 help with the touch of a switch or the sound of your voice. For more information about these services, take a look at this article from Consumer Reports.
Does your employer provide workplace accommodations due to your MS?