The thought of a medical emergency at home can be scary, especially if it involves your partner, a relative or your children. However, you never know when an emergency situation will arise as they are often unexpected. So, it’s essential that you know what to do when they do occur. This approach can reduce the impact of an injury and it can even save the life of you or your loved one.
Let’s look at what to do if the worst situation were to happen. By knowing what steps to take you will be able to control your emotions and provide urgent and much needed care without hesitation.
Medical Emergency At Home: Tip #1 Stay Calm and Assess the Situation
When a medical emergency at home occurs it is essential you stay clam and assess the situation. Look for signs to indicate that the situation is an emergency. Some sure fire signs that someone needs medical attention may include :
- Excessive bleeding
- Breathing difficulties or shallow breathing
- Unconsciousness or drifting in and out of consciousness
- Confusion, talking in riddles and not making sense and other unusual behaviour
- Chest or abdominal pain
- Head or spinal injury
- Burnt, cut or missing digits or limbs
- Extreme pain
- Noticeable bone breaks or joint dislocation
If you find the medical emergency overwhelming, then take a deep breathe in and slowly release it. This tactic will allow you to clam yourself. Plus, it enables you to assess the situation with clarity. So, that you don’t overlook any crucial signs of injury or distress.
Medical Emergency At Home: Tip #2 Call Emergency and Make Your Patient Comfortable
If you determine that the situation is an emergency, dial an ambulance in your country. Not all countries have the same emergency medical assistance number. For instance, some country’s ambulance numbers are:
- Australia – 000
- UK – 999 or 55
- Europe – 112
- USA & Canada – 911
- New Zealand – 111
- Japan – 119
- Brazil – 192
- China – 120
- Hong Kong – 999
- The Bahamas – 911 or 919
- Barbados – 911
- India – 112
While you wait for an answer, put your phone on ‘speaker’. Then make your loved one as comfortable as possible.
When someone answers the emergency number ask for an ambulance and tell them your location. The dispatcher will then pass on your information to the nearest ambulance so they can find their way to you as quickly as possible.
The length of time that it will take an ambulance to reach you is unknown. So, it is crucial for you to ask the dispatcher if they can help you manage the situation better by providing advice. Some emergency dispatchers will do this automatically. If the dispatcher cannot help you, then contact your nearest hospital or clinic for urgent care advice.
Medical Emergency At Home: Tip #3 Grab an Emergency Kit and Medicine
By putting your first aid skills to use you ensure that you manage any life-threatening symptoms. Your main medical concerns are to:
- Control excessive bleeding
- Support breaks or dislocations
- Manage breathing, pain and vomiting
- Finding missing digits or limbs and keeping these cold to preserve them
- Making sure your loved one has taken any essential medication
To take care of these symptoms, grab the emergency first-aid kit that you have in your home. If you don’t have a kit, then make use of items in your home. For instance, use a t-shirt, clean cotton underwear or other clean garments to create a pressure bandage and control bleeding.
For those without an emergency kit, make sure you buy one as soon as you can after the incident. They are crucial for providing you with essential equipment when needed. Look for a first-aid kit that is effective in emergencies for adults, children, and babies. Of course, it’s also recommended that you download a first-aid app, the Red Cross app rates highly with many users.
Medical Emergency At Home: Tip #4 Perform CPR If Needed
Performing CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) may be needed to restore your loved ones heart and lung function to normal. If you cannot hear, feel or see signs of a heartbeat or breathing then start CPR – compressions on the chest and rescue breaths.
CPR is performed by:
- Placing your patient on their back.
- Kneel beside them.
- Put the heel of your hand in the centre of the patient’s chest on the lower half of their breastbone.
- Place your second hand on top of your first hand and interlock your fingers.
- Bring yourself over the top of the patient’s chest.
- Keep your arms straight and push straight down on the patient’s chest using your whole body weight.
- The compression needs to be deep–around one third of chest depth.
- Release the pressure.
- Pressing down on the patient’s chest and releasing is classified as 1 compression.
Rescue breaths are performed by:
- Placing your hand on the patient’s forehead and the other hand under their chin, and then tilting their head back.
- Pinch the nostrils closed with your thumb and index finger.
- Open the patient’s mouth using your fingers.
- Put a resuscitation protective barrier over the patient’s mouth.
- Put your mouth on the protective barrier with your lips over the patients’ creating a good seal.
- Blow through your mouth for a second and watch for the patient’s chest rising.
- Watch the patient’s chest for the fall.
- Listen, watch and feel for breathing.
- If the patient does not start breathing on their own, then check airways for obstructions and then repeat rescue breath.
If you are doing compressions only, then you’ll need to do 100-120 per minute. Those doing compressions and rescue breaths need to do 30 compressions and 2 breaths known as 30:2. Aim to repeat compressions and breaths 5 times at 30:2 in 2 minutes.
Stop doing compressions and breaths or compressions only when:
- Your patient’s heart starts beat and they are breathing
- An ambulance arrives and the paramedic takes over or they tell you to stop
- Your are physically exhausted and cannot continue
If the emergency situation involves a child, then use the following CPR technique.
Medical Emergency At Home: Tip #5 Use the Recovery Position
Lastly, if CPR is successful or you have attended to immediate medical problems, then it is vital to keep the victim in a recovery position. To place the victim also known as the patient in a recovery position do the following:
- With the patient on the back put one of their arms at a right angle.
- Place the patient’s other arm across their chest and resting under their head against their cheek.
- Hold this arm in place.
- Using your free hand, lift the patient’s furthest leg so that their foot is on the ground.
- Make sure their other leg is straight and extended.
- Use the leg furthest away as a lever to roll the patient towards you.
The recovery position can help keep the patient calm and their airway clear. Consequently, they are able to breathe with minimal effort and it also prevents any fluids such as blood and vomit) getting into their airways and causing choking.
Medical Emergency At Home: Key Takeaways
Knowing what to do in a medical emergency at home can save someone’s life. So, take the time to familiarise yourself with these skills and have a first-aid kit available at all times.
Here’s a recap of those essential steps:
- Stay calm and assess the situation.
- Call an Ambulance and make your patient comfortable.
- Grab a first-aid kit and medication.
- Perform CPR if needed.
- Use the recovery position.
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