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How To Plan For a Disaster With a Hospice Patient

Emergency crew with hospice patient

What’s Your Emergency Plan?

By now, anyone who lives in a part of the country that is prone to natural disasters or extreme weather events—and that seems to be anywhere in the country these days—should know the drill.

We’ve heard about how to plan for such disasters from our local emergency operations centers and the media. When the likelihood is high, we’ve got our emergency kits packed, along with extra batteries, flashlights, canned foods, water and radios. We know the evacuation routes and the location of shelters, including those that take pets. We keep an eye on the weather, we pay attention, we take the warnings seriously. We plan.  

But when you’re caring for a critically ill relative at home, disaster planning takes on a new urgency. How do you plan for a storm, flood, even a power outage if your loved one is a hospice patient?

How Hospice Can Help

Life is already stressful for a family with a terminally ill loved one. When natural disasters or bad weather events loom, the patient’s hospice can help the family prepare.

Depending on the circumstances, a hospice may suggest moving the patient to its inpatient unit or another facility for safety. If the patient remains at home, extra oxygen, medications and other supplies may be supplied to the family.

Make sure you have the hospice’s contact phone numbers and the hospice team has all of yours. Families should also have the phone number for the patient’s physician nearby. If phone service is out and the patient is in need of medical care, seek out emergency services or go to the local hospital.

If you are forced to leave your home, contact your hospice provider as soon as possible so they can continue caring for your loved one.  

To get emergency preparedness information, visit http://www.ready.gov/.

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