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Dealing with an emergency response in home nursing situations

An emergency event or natural disaster can disrupt life at any point. These events can cause chaos to everyday life, be stressful, confusing and sometimes even frightening. Without proper planning and preparedness the changing and unpredictable circumstances can severely impact people who receive in-home support services, sometimes with lasting effect. As your service provider Nursed Care has the systems in place to ensure we are able to continue providing your services in most situations. While this is hopefully reassuring, being prepared for emergencies really starts with you at home, but don’t worry we can help. In this article you can find out what situations can cause an emergency response, how services may alter during an emergency, decreasing your risk and responding to an emergency calmly.

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    Be alert for emergency advice!

    An emergency situation is a major crisis or disaster

    This could be a natural disaster, significant failure in utilities like power, sewage or water treatment, pandemics or human caused incidents. Every emergency will disrupt your day to day life and will impact some people and communities more than others often with urgent assistance required for large parts of the community. Emergency situations take place over a few of days or even weeks and include:

    • the lead up period once an emergency is known (ie. advice on major storm event threat and even evacuation advice to relocate residents)

    • the actual emergency event itself (ie. the storm hits)

    • emergency response (ie. emergency advice and evacuation from flooded homes)

    • disaster recovery (ie returning home and clean up efforts once flood waters have subsided)

    Local and/or State emergency services will determine if a response is needed for communities impacted by the situation and will provide the assistance needed to ensure their safety. This could be formal orders or emergency advice include evacuation orders, the need to relocate residents for a short term, taking shelter at home or changes to your surroundings.

    In an emergency services will be delivered

    Nursed Care will continue to deliver quality care in an emergency

    Dealing with any emergency situation is likely to cause stress particularly for people that rely on support services that are usually provided at home. Nursed Care has the systems and plans in place to respond to most events. We assess the risk factors of each event and plan for the worst scenario. Planning ahead means we can support you through the crisis and help you be prepared too. For each emergency we assess how the situation has impacted our team and resources. This includes making sure we have available staff, adapting to power failures or loss of other critical services and identifying alternative supplies or resources if we are unable to get what we use normally.

    Emergency advice may mean a temporary service change

    In order to provide the best service we may need to change times or have someone new see you. These will be temporary changes and only in response to changes in staffing or resources. Don’t worry though, we will talk to you before any changes happen to make sure you’re comfortable. If we have to change services we will focus first on delivering core support services to people that need them most. This would include the core services that are most critical to your daily life such as access to medicines and medical equipment, meal preparation and maintaining personal and clinical care. However we aim to deliver all services and understand that changes to the way your services are delivered is not only disruptive but may cause stress or have negative impact on your health and wellbeing. We aim to continue delivering all services during an emergency. Throughout and after the event we will continue to conduct welfare checks, either in person or on the phone. These will help to identify any negative impacts the situation is having on your health or wellbeing and additional services or supports you may need as a result.

    Knowing your risk and being ready

    Plan ahead and be informed

    Being prepared for an emergency is vital and will help you with stress management and maintaining as normal life as possible during and after the emergency. Your local council will be a great resource in understanding the risk of emergency events in your area. The first step to being ready is to be aware of the emergency situations you may have to deal with. The most likely emergency events include bushfires, storms, flooding and heatwaves. To plan for the potential impact of these events you need to check your home and surroundings. Is your home on the edge or close to a bush reserve? Has there been a fire or major flooding on your street in the past? Does your home stay cool during summer? If a storm hits is it likely to cause damage to my home? These are the sorts of questions to consider and will help guide you in planning.

    Emergency Care Plan

    Knowing the risks gives you the ability to control their impact by putting plans in place. The most important will be an Emergency Care Plan. As Your care provider Nursed Care will work with you and your family members to put together an Emergency Care Plan that meets your needs. This includes your details, information on any disability or care requirements and your emergency contacts such as your family, registered nurse or other human services agencies. Most importantly it includes important details about your services for example if a registered nurse usually administers your medications, contact details of support nurses, names of local agencies that you rely on, local health contacts, information someone may need to help with a specific medicine or treatment. Emergency care planning is a responsible management tool for any resident receiving in home care and will play a key role in your health management and disaster preparedness.

    Local emergency services can help you with risk management at home

    Planning makes prevention easier and can include making sure you can keep your supplies stocked, keeping bottled water stored, knowing if there is a local evacuation point, contacting your local emergency services or council or even having a chat with families or people where you live to discuss your plans for emergency preparedness. If you have a pet you may want to consider a specific list or plan for them, including their name and colour photo, what they eat, where to search if they have gone into hiding, details of your local animal hospital. You could also put together an emergency kit or list, this would include all of the important items you must have with you in case you need to leave home because of an emergency.

    Responding to a crisis and activating your plans

    Stay calm, connected and activate your plans

    If an emergency situation arises refer to you planning, take any steps that are safe to do so and remain calm. Its a good idea to phone a family member or contact person to let them know. In any an emergency response where help from emergency services or another person is required its important to let them know as that you will likely need additional help. If time is available let them know that you have an emergency care plan in place and to provide them the contact details for Nursed Care, contact person or family member. We may be able to help, phone a family member or help you understand what’s happening.

    Knowing when to go

    An important part of any emergency situation is knowing when you need to evacuate your home. Listen to all emergency advice in particularly advice from the Australian Government and your state, territroy or local government. They will give residents as much warning to evacuate as they can. If you are nervous, you can always be prepared, its better to be ready early than not at all.

    Planning, preparedness and taking emergency advice are crucial

    Knowing your risks, being prepared and having well developed management plans for disaster will play a key role in getting through it. These steps will mean that anyone involved in such emergencies, whether its Nursed Care, ambulance, fire services, police, emergency services or a community residents can help you get through emergencies calmly and in control. Our own emergency preparedness at Nursed Care will ensure you and all our clients continue to receive the quality care that you rely on, even during emergency events.

    Need qualified care?

    At Nursed, we offer a full range of care and disability support services, assisting you to live the life you want to live. Contact us today.

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