Emergencies occur every day. Data from the 2016 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey found around 145 million emergency department visits are made in the United States each year. Of those visits, 42.2 million are injury-related. The Canadian Institute for Health Information says Canadians make about 14 million visits to hospital emergency departments annually.
While no one wants to imagine themselves in dangerous situations, being realistic about the likelihood of being in an emergency can help people safeguard themselves against such situations.
One way to prepare for emergencies is to make sure you and potential first responders or medical personnel know who to call should you be unable to communicate. Likely many things in the digital age, the process of indicating emergency contacts has changed.
Mobile phone ICE
All people are urged to designate an “in case of emergency” contact on their mobile phones. This way a first responder or other emergency personnel can notify the appropriate people in emergency situations. In 2004, after research from Vodafone found that fewer than 25 percent of people carried any emergency contact details on their persons, a campaign was started by Bob Brotchie of the East of England Ambulance Service in the United Kingdom to start providing emergency contact information. Brotchie urged mobile phone manufacturers to support the campaign by adding an ICE heading to phone number lists of all new mobile phones. Emergency contact information also should be provided for school children and with a person’s employer and updated regularly.
Emergencies may arise due to life-threatening medical conditions. If a person is in a situation in which they are unconscious or unable to speak, a medical alert card or bracelet can help first responders provide medical care more quickly. Bracelets and other jewelry, like those offered from the MedicAlert® Foundation, are engraved with critical information for conditions like autism, allergies, dementia, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or epilepsy. They can provide peace of mind and speak for the person wearing one in an emergency.
Health care proxy
People should consider naming a health care proxy. This can be any whom they trust. The proxy can make health care decisions for another if he or she is unable to speak. Naming a proxy ensures that one gets the healthcare he or she prefers in the event they cannot communicate their wishes. Sometimes healthcare proxies are merged with living wills as one advanced directive document, according to the Medicare Rights Center.
Preparing for emergency situations, however unlikely they may seem, includes employing various strategies to help emergency responders and medical personnel in the event you are incapable of communicating with them.