Establish Safety Protocols and Plans for Patients Who Are Bed-Bound or Rely on Durable Medical Equipment
Caring for a loved one with limited mobility or who relies on durable medical equipment and hospice services or palliative care at home is a noble undertaking that requires intense thought and planning.
One of the most important considerations a family caregiver can make is ensuring their loved one’s safety, particularly in the event of a fire, power outage, or carbon monoxide incident. Keep reading to discover preventative steps you can take and how to get support from experts in your area.
Install Smoke Detectors or Carbon Monoxide Detectors in the Home
To alert your loved one and your family in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide emergency, follow professional recommendations for installing detectors.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends installing at least one smoke alarm on every level of the home, including in the basement; in every bedroom; and outside all sleeping areas. Ideally, they should be ceiling-mounted rather than wall-mounted, where possible. A combination of ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are ideal. Ionization-sensing alarms detect fast-flaming fires sooner than photoelectric ones, which are designed to detect slow, smoldering fires. Better still is if all your home’s smoke detectors are linked together, so they all alert simultaneously when one detects fire particles.
Carbon monoxide is tasteless, colorless, and odorless, which makes it impossible to detect without the right equipment. The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends you place a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, including in the basement. One should be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door, with one near or above your attached garage.
Replace carbon monoxide monitors every five years, or if they no longer respond properly during monthly tests. Replace smoke alarms of all kinds at least every 10 years, or if they no longer respond properly during monthly tests.
Have a Fire Escape Plan for Your Loved One Receiving Palliative Care or Hospice Care at Home
Especially for patients with limited mobility, having a clear fire escape plan is vital. Consider all exits in your loved one’s home and decide which are closest to their bed or the furniture they commonly use.
Practice unlocking windows, calling for help, and other actions they’ll need to take to enable their escape or keep them safe until firefighters can rescue them.
Have your loved one sleep with their bedroom door closed, which can slow the spread of a house fire. If your loved one does not have a door to their sleeping accommodations, ensure flammable materials in the home are kept away from fireplaces, heaters, and electrical outlets. Unplug and remove any electrical devices that appear to be damaged or dysfunctional.
Share escape plans with any caregivers who will visit for long periods of time, such as your hospice nurse, so they, too, can be prepared to help.
Notify the Fire Department and Utility Services of Your Loved One’s Reliance on Hospice-Related Medical Equipment
If your loved one relies on oxygen or durable medical equipment that uses electricity, such as an alternating-pressure mattress, CPAP, and more, or if they’re bed- or wheelchair-bound, there are a couple of important phone calls for you to make.
The first is to your local fire department to let them know that your loved one receives hospice or palliative care and will need help in the event of an emergency. They may advise you to install window stickers that indicate where your loved one sleeps. They’ll also take note that there may be flammable equipment in the home, such as oxygen tanks.
Your second call is to your electricity provider. Your loved one’s medical equipment that requires electricity to run keeps them safe, healthy, and comfortable. In the event of a power outage, the utility company can work diligently to restore power to the home as quickly as possible.
Get the Right Hospice Services for Your Loved One
The best way you can ensure the safety and comfort of your loved one with limited mobility, poor health, or reliance on medical equipment is to locate and work with the right hospice services. Finding a caring and compassionate hospice or palliative care at home can be frustrating.
Phoenix Home Care & Hospice has been providing the right services for more than 10 years. Contact us today to learn how we can support your loved one’s comfort, health, and quality of life with our hospice care at home and palliative care services.