Emergency Care Planning for Dementia
Sometimes, despite our best endeavours, unexpected things happen. However, for many carers, life cannot simply be put on hold so it’s important to be as prepared as possible should something go wrong.
Following concerns raised by carers, Carers Link have developed an Emergency Planning Service. Completing an Emergency Plan is an ideal opportunity for carers to record, in detail, what they actually do as a carer for the person they care for. It aims to give the carer some influence over the care the person may receive in an emergency, for more information contact Carers Link. It might seem depressing to be thinking about bad things happening but actually it’s a positive life-affirming thing to sort out. It is important to involve the person with dementia in Planning for the Future in order that you can both have some piece of mind.
Making an Emergency Care Plan can help give you peace of mind. This is in case your circumstances change and you are unable to look after the person you care for at any point in the future. In order to create a plan that fits your needs you may want to include the following:
- The name, address and any other contact details of the person you look after
- The person you would like to be contacted in an emergency – this might include family, friends, neighbours or professionals
- Details of any medication the person you look after is taking and any ongoing treatments
- Record of dietary requirements and mealtimes
- Daily and weekly routines and social activities
- Details of individuals or organisations also involved in the care of the person you look after eg. day care, home care
This information can be kept in a single document called Getting to Know Me Form.
It can be reassuring to involve the Local Authority Social Work department in case informal arrangements fall through. Planning for an emergency should be covered during an assessment of the person with dementia’s needs carried out by an appropriate professional. This may also be contained within a separate Carer’s Assessment. Contact Carers Link for more information.
What to do if a Person with Dementia is Having a Health Crisis
It may be due to:
- Delirium (confusion due to pain or an infection)
- Stressed and Distressed Behaviour
- Walking (formerly ‘wandering’)
If there is an immediate risk of harm to you or the person with dementia call 999 for an ambulance immediately. Give as much information as possible to the operator and be as clear as you can when giving your address and telephone number. In less serious cases contact your GP or during out of hours NHS 24 on 111. There is a Minor Injuries Unit at Stobhill Hospital which is open from 9am – 9pm. Accident and Emergency services are located at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
Support for Carers
In East Dunbartonshire this is available from Carers Link. Carers Link is a charity and a partner in the East Dunbartonshire Dementia Network where you can get information and advice on all aspects of dementia. The network offers home visits, outreach services and dementia cafes.
ICE (In Case of Emergency)
Carrying ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts on your mobile phone or in your wallet is a great idea.
You can either:
- Store the word ICE in your mobile phone’s address book, with your emergency contacts’ telephone numbers next to it. There are also free ICE apps available for your mobile phone; or
- Write ICE on a piece of card with your emergency contacts’ details on it, and carry it in your wallet or purse.