Planning for emergencies
Emergencies can happen anytime. If you are a carer, planning for emergencies will help you to cope even when things go wrong.
The emergency might involve the person you care for. For example, they might fall and break a bone or their mental health might get suddenly worse. It’s good to know what to do in a crisis and be ready for emergencies like these.
The emergency might also involve you. You might get sick, have an accident or have to leave home suddenly. Having a plan in place means that if something goes wrong, the person you care for will still be looked after.
Video: Planning for an emergency
As a carer, every day brings different challenges. You'll have good days and bad days. It can be very difficult if you find yourself without help or a backup plan when something changes in your caring situation. Sudden change could impact your health, your family, and financial situation.
Planning ahead for difficult days is really important and will help reduce stress in the long run. It's a good idea to put in place an emergency care plan, in case you're not around when something happens or in the event of an emergency. The plan should be easily accessible, and have clear instructions to make sure the person you care for is still receiving the support they need, even if you're not there.
Some things you might want to consider when making your emergency care plan include:
- A step by step document on how to care for the person. This should include information on medical history, medication type, dosage, storage, and associated side effects.
- Contact details of family and friends who can step into your caring role in the event of an emergency.
- Let them know well in advance, and tell them what they need to do.
- An emergency care card, which lists the contact details of all the people who can help in an emergency. This can be kept conveniently in your wallet or purse.
- GP and other health professionals contact details
- Updating your plan regularly so it reflects your current situation, and giving your caseworker and health care professionals a copy of your plan.
- You might also want to keep a bag packed with a few essential items for the person being cared for, ready to grab on the way out in the event of an emergency.
These are just a few of the tips that may help you get through an emergency situation in your caring role. For more tips and advice, please go to carergateway.gov.au, or call 1800 422 737.
Making an emergency care plan
An emergency care plan has all the information about the person you care for in one place, so you can get it quickly and easily.
An emergency care plan makes it easy for someone to take over from you in a hurry. The plan is also useful if someone else will be providing care for a while, or if you need to talk with someone such as a health care professional.
What is an emergency care plan
Your emergency care plan should include:
- personal information about the person you care for (name, address, age, condition, health)
- details of any emergency contacts, including
- family and friends
- guardians or someone who may have a power of attorney
- health professionals
- their medical history
- a list of medicines and how and when they should be given
- their care needs, such as what they usually eat and drink and details of personal care
- a list of the regular support services they get and upcoming appointment dates, times and locations
- anything else you think someone taking over for you in a hurry would need to know
What is a carer emergency card
A carer emergency card is a card you can carry in your wallet to let people know that you care for someone. It’s a good idea to carry an emergency card to make sure the person you care for will be looked after if something happens to you.
This card has the contact details of people who have your emergency care plan and anyone else who can help the person you care for if something happens to you.
The person you care for should also carry a card in their wallet to let people know they are being cared for by you.
How to make and use an emergency care plan and card
You can download or ask to be sent a blank emergency care plan and card to fill in.
Once you have filled in the plan, you should save it to your phone or computer. You should also print out copies of the plan, and:
- keep a copy of the plan somewhere safe and easy to see in your home. You should also keep a copy of important documents such as wills, guardianship and powers of attorney with your emergency care plan
- take a copy with you when you leave home or travel with the person you care for
- give a copy to each of your emergency contacts
- give a copy to your doctor, and anyone else who may need to know what to do
Once you have filled in the carer emergency card, you should put it in your wallet. Once you have filled in the emergency card for the person you care for, they should put it in their wallet or carry it with them.
Managing in a crisis
You should know what to do is a crisis. You should also make sure you have an emergency care plan ready for use in a crisis.
How to get urgent medical care
If the person you care for needs urgent medical care, call the person’s doctor or emergency services on triple zero (000).
How to get urgent mental health care
If the person you care for has a mental health crisis, call your state or territory crisis assessment and treatment team for immediate help. These are:
- Australian Capital Territory – Mental Health Triage Service 1800 629 354
- New South Wales – Mental Health Line 1800 011 511
- Northern Territory – Crisis Assessment Telephone Triage Service 1800 682 288
- Queensland – 24-hour mental health care 1300 642 255
- South Australia – Mental Health Triage Service 13 14 65
- Tasmania – Mental Health Services Helpline 1800 332 388
- Victoria – Mental Health Services (visit the website to choose the service for your region)
- Western Australia – Mental Health Emergency Response Line 1800 676 822