Making the decision to use home health care can provide comfort for a loved one who doesn't want to move to an assisted-living community or nursing home. You will, however, need to make sure your loved one's home and caregiver are prepared in the event of an emergency. Here are a few things to consider as your family makes the transition to home health care.
Put a Shelter Plan in Place Together
Ask the caregiver if he or she is able to stay with your loved one should there be a reason to take shelter, such as a potential tornado or severe storm. Your health care worker might be able to help your loved one evacuate to a basement or interior room during potential disasters.
Create an Evacuation Plan
Nursing homes and assisted-living facilities have evacuation routes posted on doors and walls throughout the building. You can borrow this idea to help the home health worker get your loved one to safety in the event of a fire or other disaster requiring evacuation. Post exit maps on the doors in each room, and go over them with your relative and the home health worker. Be sure that his or her plan is to find and assist your loved one before exiting the home.
Plan for Times Your Relative Will Be Alone
Unless you have 24-hour in-home help, there will be times your loved one will be alone. Create an emergency plan for him or her to follow in case of a natural disaster or medical emergency. Post a list of emergency numbers (including yours) next to each telephone in the home, and invest in a medical-alert system he or she can press in case of an accident in the home. Go over all of the information with your relative on a regular basis to ensure he or she remembers the plan. Talk about where to go in the event of a tornado, fire, flood, or severe thunderstorm. You may also want to keep an emergency cell phone in the kitchen or bedroom as a backup to the landline phone.
Having a home health care worker can give your relative a greater sense of independence, but it may cause you to be concerned about what might happen in an emergency. Use this list to prepare your loved one and the home health worker to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Contact an organization like Independent Life for more ideas about how to help your loved one in case of an emergency.