Care Givers for Elders – What Do I Need to Have for An Emergency Room Visit?

I have been a care giver for several aging seniors over the years.  One of the things I had to “grow into” was the knowledge about what to do when emergency visits happen.  As my elders aged, hospital visits seem to increase.  The first few times, my husband and I only had the presence of mind to fly into action and make sure our elder got to the hospital in time.  As we became more seasoned in our roles, we learned a few things about advanced preparation.

I found out when I was more prepared for the unexpected hospital emergency room visit, the stress wasn’t quite as bad as when I was flying by the seat of my pants.  Here are a few things I found to be very necessary, kept altogether, in a special spot so it won’t be forgotten for these visits.  All these things should be prepared ahead of time.

1.  A file folder with copies of:
a. the DPOA (durable power of attorney),
b. copies of their living will if they have one.
c. copies of the front and back of all their insurance cards (including supplemental insurance), medicare card, veterans identification card (if they have one), copy of their drivers license or picture ID of some kind.

2.  Keep up to date and in their file folder all medications (including medications for skin such as cortisone, etc.), prescription and over the counter medications (including vitamin and supplements), that your elder is taking, with the dosages and frequency they take them.  Be sure to know when they took the last dose of each medication and when they are due to take the next.

3.  Also, in their folder, keep a list of all their hospitalizations and surgeries they have gone through.  It is important to keep track of the dates and what each hospitalization was for.  A brief medical history is important also.  Questions like age of parents when they passed, what they passed from, and the same for their siblings.

4.  If they are on oxygen, note this and how many liters per hour they are on and how long they have been using it.  If the are taking an ambulance ride, let the paramedic or ems know this information and leave your elder’s equipment at home.  The paramedics will use their own oxygen equipment for the transport and the hospital will use theirs once your loved one has arrived.  This is, also, true for wheel chairs, walkers, etc.  This equipment is expensive and can get lost or misplaced in a hospital setting.

5.  A list of their special dietary needs, allergies, and sensitivities.

6.  Are you keeping a journal about your elder’s health?  It’s a good idea to take your journal with you when you go.

7.  A list of important phone numbers; doctors, loved ones, relatives, neighbors, home health care providers, pharmacy they use, pet sitter, etc.  The phone number of those who need to be notified about the trip to the ER or notified if there will be a hospital stay.  I keep the numbers in my phone, but if you aren’t a cell phone user, make sure there is an up to date list in your folder with all the other information.

I found my stress level decreased substantially when I had this information readily available.  It helps the hospital professionals do their job which equates to our senior getting better care.

Do you have an emergency room visit story you’d like to share?  Is there anything else you’ve found which should go with us on our ER trip? Would you like more information like this? Click here!

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4 Responses to “Care Givers for Elders – What Do I Need to Have for An Emergency Room Visit?”

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  2. […] you are ready for an unexpected visit to the emergency room, worry and stress can be mostly […]

  3. […] been writing articles on hospital visits for the elderly.  What items to have available for an emergency room visit and what a care giver can do to be prepared for a hospital stay.  Today, I would like to tell you […]

  4. […] My parents are both dealing with different forms of dementia.  Emergency visits were common place for them before they moved to the Veterans Home.  Keeping information ready for emergency room visits was a must.  The list can be found here. […]

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