Emergency Preparedness with LifeSource Home Health
During natural and manmade disasters, older adults and people with temporary or long-term disabilities are often hit hardest. Emergency preparedness is one of the most important topics to adults who may have health or mobility issues, especially in Louisiana, where weather disasters are a very real concern.
At LifeSource Home Health, our goal is to be prepared for any type of emergency by creating a thorough plan with our patients. Your plan with your caregiver will be unique to you and will help keep you safe and ready.
Your Caregiver’s Plan
LifeSource Home Health has an agency-wide emergency preparedness plan to help ensure that both staff and patients are safe and taken care of during an emergency.
During your initial patient assessment, we will complete an individual emergency plan with you in case a natural or manmade disaster occurs. This planning helps us stay ahead of the curve. We also prepare by providing staff with annual emergency training and assistance with family pre-emergency planning.
Our goal is to continue to provide you with care during an emergency. As a backup plan in case conditions prevent your caregiver from reaching you, we work continuously with community hospitals and other resources to ensure that alternatives are available and that you know with whom to connect.
We do our best to ensure that our patients receive the care they need, no matter what. If you aren’t sure where to go or who to call should something happen, bring it up with your caregiver as part of your emergency planning.
Your caregiver will help you prepare for an emergency by guiding you through an emergency kit checklist, which is given to all patients in our Patient Handbook. Your caregiver will also talk with you about how to shelter in your home or how to evacuate safely.
If You Evacuate
We recommend that you keep several important items in a kit that can be easily located and taken with you in case of an evacuation. Some of these items might include:
- 2 weeks supply of medication
- Extra non-perishable food such as canned goods and non-refrigerated items
- Extra clothing and hygiene products
- Any prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses
- Anything you need to help with mobility, such as a cane or wheelchair
- An extra pair of comfortable, functional shoes
Talk to your family about what to do if you must evacuate. Will you meet at a pre-determined location? Will someone come to get you if you can’t get to a meeting place on your own? These questions are ones that need to be answered before disaster strikes, not after.
Plan an escape route with your family, or with your neighbors or friends. If you have any service animals, be sure to include how best to transport them. If you’re evacuating to an emergency public shelter, keep in mind that pets may not be allowed due to health reasons, but all facilities are legally required to allow service animals. You and your caregiver or family may need to make prior arrangements to board or shelter your pets in an emergency—your veterinarian may have recommendations.
Be sure to lock your home as you evacuate, unless there is immediate danger in doing so. Do not remain in your home if authorities order an evacuation.
Shelter at Home
However, if authorities tell you to take shelter in your home, you must be prepared to ride out the emergency. Sheltering at home can mean a few things:
- You may be in your home for a long time
- Local agencies, depending on conditions, may be limited or slow to respond
- You may lose power and utilities
Being prepared for these events will help keep you as comfortable and as safe as possible. Before an emergency, talk with your utility company about what you should do concerning your gas, water, and electricity and where the shut-off controls are and how to use them. Share this information with your caregiver and family.
Stock supplies as you can. Bottled water, non-perishable food items, flashlights, batteries, and emergency survival items such as sleeping bags, a battery-powered radio, a battery-powered phone charger, and battery-powered lanterns are all good things to have. If you need help storing these items, talk to your family or neighbors about shared storage.
Pay attention to your local radio stations or TV channels for instructions, information, and more.
Emergencies are scary, and they can have lasting effects on people of all ages. The physical and psychological trauma of a disaster can be intense. However, by planning thoroughly with your LifeSource Home Health caregiver, you’ll know exactly what to do and be prepared to act in the moment, which can make all the difference.