How to Manage Emergencies
Most people panic in an emergency as they are unprepared and unsure how to handle such situations. Being prepared helps you to be in control of the situation and stay focused on doing what is needed at that moment.
If you are in an emergency, dial 995 for the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). The SCDF Emergency SMS 70995 is also specially introduced for people who are hearing- or speech-impaired, or hard-of-hearing.
Recognising a Medical Emergency Situation
A medical emergency is a sudden illness that requires immediate medical attention. It is essential for you to recognise a medical emergency situation.
Seven signs of a medical emergency are:
- Sudden or severe pain, including chest pain
- Breathing difficulty or shortness of breath
- Uncontrolled bleeding of any kind
- Sudden confusion of disorientation
- Sudden dizziness, numbness, weakness or vision change
- Coughing or vomiting of blood
- Continuous vomiting or diarrhoea
Who Should You Inform?
Call 995 for an ambulance
When you call an ambulance:
- Give the age of your care recipient
- Explain the problem and how long it has been going
For example: “My 73-year-old mother has been having difficulty breathing for the past 30 minutes”
- Quickly state your loved one’s medical history.
For example: “She had a heart attack two years ago”
Bring the Right Documents
Carry your loved one’s personal documents such as identification card and hospital discharge summary in case he/she needs to be admitted. Photocopy important documents (such as current and past medical records, test results, and Advance Care Plan) so that you can give emergency personnel this information while keeping the originals.
Keep a list of contact details of your family members as well as healthcare professionals. You can prepare this list on your mobile phone or make a list separately.
Ask your healthcare provider for emergency warning signs. Write them down and place on the refrigerator or emergency area in the house. Ensure that all family members know these warning signs.
Leave a gentle reminder with the following points in the emergency area so that everyone remembers what to do. This includes the following:
- Keep calm as much as possible
- Keep your voice level even. This will help you to stay calmer, and will also help people around you stay calm
- Get family members to help
- Never leave your care recipient unattended
- Do not move your care recipient excessively, especially if he/ she has fallen
Practise First Aid
Do you know first aid is immediate help given to a person who is injured or has suddenly taken ill before the arrival of medical aid?
While it is important to get a healthcare professional for serious emergencies, you can keep yourself prepared for minor injuries and issues. Most home emergencies involving seniors are falls from walking, weakness, or giddiness, resulting in cuts or bruises.
This makes it useful to know first aid skills, so you can provide basic medical care for your loved one. You can learn these lifesaving skills through these first aid courses
Get a pre-packed first-aid kit at your nearest pharmacy. Check your first-aid kit regularly to ensure that expired medications are disposed appropriately, and the important items are inside.
In some emergencies, you may need to administer emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). You may contact the Singapore Red Cross Society for information on first aid and CPR courses and first-aid kits.
Source: Singapore Red Cross Academy
Here are more tips to better care for your loved one.
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