Plan ahead: emergency planning
When you care for somebody who depends on you, putting your life on hold while you deal with sudden illness, accidents, family troubles or emergencies may not be an option; it is important to plan ahead.
Emergency care plans
Making an emergency plan gives you and the person you care for the reassurance that there will be somebody to step in when they are needed and that they will have instructions to guide them.
The Australian government publishes a sample 'Emergency Care Plan'.
Create your plan
Your Emergency Care Plan lists contact details of the people who have agreed to give emergency support to the person you care for. It also includes instructions on the type of care they may need to provide:
- Think about the best people to stand in for your caring responsibilities and ask if they are prepared to act as emergency contacts;
- It is important that your emergency contacts accept the level of commitment they are taking on and that they understand and are comfortable with the types of tasks they might need to perform;
- Fill in the plan. It includes health information about the person you care for, their medications, the care they need, and a list of regular support services they receive. There is also room to record the expectations you have for the person who steps into the caring role;
- Give a copy of your plan to each of your emergency contacts. Go through it with them and make sure they understand what is required;
- Keep the original in a safe but visible place;
- Update your plan every year or sooner if there are significant changes to your caring situation.
Let people know you are a carer
Your Carer Emergency Card is designed to let people know that somebody depends upon you for their wellbeing and to give the contact details of people who can help in an emergency.
You can get free cards from your local respite and carer support service. Keep your card up to date and carry it with you at all times.
You should also include the details of your emergency contacts if you carry a Medic-Alert card or wear a Medic-Alert bracelet or necklace.