Preventing Falls

  • Keep pathways clear of furniture and throw rugs.
  • Clean up spills immediately.
  • Use walker for intended purpose of walking and not to pull or push up on.
  • Do not use furniture or door jams for support.
  • Wear substantial shoes with non-skid soles. Do not wear backless shoes.
  • Have adequate lighting in home – especially in hallways. Keep electrical extensions and telephone cords cleared from pathways (tape down to baseboards).
  • Keep frequently used objects close at hand; use a reacher when possible; use convenience items such as remote controls and audio devices to activate lights, TVs, etc.
  • Know where the animals, children, and other objects are when transferring or walking.
  • Avoid swivel chairs, rockers, and/or bedspreads that are long and spread on the floor.
  • Install grab bars and handrails inside and outside as needed.
  • Eliminate throw rugs. Use only non-skid rugs on floors.

Bathroom Safety

  • Never, but NEVER, use a towel bar to grab and lift or pull yourself up.
  • Use non-skid grippers in bottom of tub and shower.
  • Consider using a bedside commode at night.
  • Consider the use of a tub bench and hand-held shower.
  • Install safety toilet arm frame if you have difficulty sitting on or rising from toilet.
  • Rinse tub or shower with white vinegar after each use, then rinse with water. The vinegar cuts the invisible soap film, which can become slippery.
  • Make yourself a “soap on a rope” and attach to an existing soap holder or to the tub bench.
  • Use a long handled sponge for lower extremity bathing if bending over is a problem.
  • Use a non-slip bath mat outside tub – not a towel.

In the Case of an Emergency, Remember to:

Keep basic supplies handy:

  • Emergency light source.
  • First aid kit.
  • Portable radio
  • Medical supplies including medications.
  • Food and water.
  • Backup power supply for any device that would create a life-threatening situation if it stopped working (wheel chairs, ventilators, oxygen concentrators, etc.).

Update the emergency plan

  • (in patient’s home chart as needed)

Keep other important numbers handy

  • (Electric company, gas company, family, etc.)

Listen to the Radio or TV for Emergency Information
Keep Calm
Act Quickly
Call 911 if Necessary

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Weather & Fire Emergencies

Thunderstorm/Lightning

  • If you are outside, seek shelter.
  • Move away from windows! Lightning can travel through glass!
  • Listen to the radio or TV for advanced warnings.
  • If someone in the house is on life support, check that the batteries are fully charged.
  • Close the curtains in the room where the patient is located to help alleviate fear and to help stop flying debris if the storm should worsen.
  • Don’t use the telephone except in an emergency.

Tornado

A tornado is a rapidly spinning, fast moving, funnel-shaped cloud. A tornado can strike anywhere, at any time, but most occur during late spring and summer, in the late afternoon. If the weather looks threatening, listen to local radio or TV for the National Weather Service reports. A “tornado warning” means a tornado has actually been sighted. Seek shelter immediately. The safest place in the home is the center and lowest level of the house; i.e. a basement, interior hallway, closet, or bathroom.

Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls. Get everyone under sturdy furniture or stairs. If you are the caregiver for a bed-bound patient who cannot leave their room, close the drapes and move as far away from the windows as possible. Have a heavy blanket available to cover with in the event of an actual tornado. Place candles, working flashlight, and cordless or cell phone in a designated area when you see the weather is turning bad. In the event that you need to seek shelter, you will be prepared. Review and incorporate steps applicable under Thunderstorms/Lightning.

Winter Storm

A winter storm can present itself as a blizzard, large amounts of snowfall, ice, freezing rain, or any combination of the above. Be forewarned by listening to local radio or TV. A “storm warning” indicates the storm is close; take precautions. Travel advisories may also be in effect. Advanced weather systems can now warn us hours or even days before a winter storm reaches us. If you are scheduled for an appointment or procedure, or are scheduled for a shift prior to the arrival of the storm and will be leaving home, take with you a change of clothes, food, etc. in the event you become stranded at the medical facility or home of a patient. Should you be scheduled for an appointment or treatment after the storm hits and there is a travel advisory in effect, you should contact the treating facility and make the appropriate arrangements. If you are scheduled for a shift after the storm hits and a travel advisory is in effect, contact the Office or the Administrator on Call before leaving for the shift. If the patient has a family member available to help, or the current caregiver can stay, the oncoming caregiver may be canceled to reduce unnecessary travel. People should only travel if necessary. Keep your gas tanks full. Use snow tires if you have them; sticking to main road of travel. Caregivers should notify you or the patient’s family if they are coming so that you can watch for their arrival. If the caregiver does not arrive within a reasonable time, you should contact Tendercare.

If in the event your car becomes stuck in the snow, stay in your car and wait for help. Run the engine and heater sparingly and be sure to ventilate the car when the car is running. Keep blankets, snacks, and flares in your trunk for emergencies. If you have a cellular phone, be sure to keep it charged and take it with you to call for assistance.

Patients and caregivers can prepare at home by making certain that there is enough food, water, and medicine on hand should they be snowed in. Locate the flashlight, spare batteries, portable radio, and extra blankets.

Avoid overexertion from walking, pushing cars, or shoveling snow.

Fire

Fires usually give NO WARNING so be prepared for quick action. Have an escape plan and DISCUSS ways to get out of the house. Remember R.A.C.E.

  • R = Rescue, make sure everyone has reached safety.
  • A = Activate the emergency system by calling 911 to get help.
  • C = Contain the fire only if you can. Close the doors to the patient’s room if you are unable to remove the patient easily, and they are in no immediate danger.
  • E = Extinguish the fire. Fight small fires only! Turn off electricity and or the gas source. We ask that all our patients have a fire extinguisher available. Know where it is BEFORE there is a fire. Smother small fires with wet rugs and blankets or use a fire extinguisher.

For GREASE FIRES, DON’T use water

  • Smother with salt, flour, a wet blanket or rug, or a pan lid, etc.
  • Get out if the fire is uncontrollable.
  • Close the doors and windows behind you.

Prevent Fires!

  • Don’t let trash accumulate.
  • Store flammable liquids outside and in approved containers.
  • Notify Tendercare if you notice frayed or broken wires/plugs.
  • Check fire and smoke detectors at the first of each month.

Have an evacuation plan! Especially for bed bound patients and patients on life support!!

  • Patients on a ventilator can be removed from the vent and be imbued by lowering to the ground with their sheet, and dragged to safety. We recommend that all patients on life support have an emergency/travel bag filled with supplies that they might need.

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First Aid

These tips are not a substitute for qualified medical care. In an emergency, get medical help as soon as possible.

Bleeding

  • Apply direct pressure. Use latex gloves, plastic wrap or a clean folded cloth to prevent contact with the “victim’s” blood.
  • Elevate wounded area above victim’s heart, if there’s no sign of a fracture.
  • If bleeding is severe and continues, apply pressure at a pressure point, if you have training.
  • Do not apply a tourniquet.

Fractures

  • Don’t move the victim, or ask the victim to move, unless absolutely necessary.
  • Get medical help.
  • Call Tendercare as soon as possible.

Burns

  • Immerse burn in cool water until burned area feels cool.
  • Get medical help.
  • Call Tendercare as soon as possible.
  • Never put butter or grease on a burn.
  • Do not break blisters; they are natures best band-aide.
  • Do not attempt to remove anything sticking to a burn.

Shock

  • Symptoms include: cold, clammy skin; faint rapid pulse; weakness; nausea.
  • Treat the cause of shock, for example, blood loss, burn, trauma.
  • Seek medical help immediately.
  • Keep victim lying down and elevate feet. Place unconscious victim on side to allow drainage of fluids.
  • Don’t move the victim if you suspect neck or spine injury, unless absolutely necessary.
  • Cover only enough to maintain body heat.

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