If you have spinal cord damage and use a personal support worker or carer, it’s important to have an emergency plan developed in case your support worker or carer cannot attend a shift and no substitute carer is available.
With the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) situation resulting in mandatory self-isolation periods and additional health impacts, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have considered your options in the case of an emergency, including preparing for the event of requiring admittance to hospital.
Spinal Life Personal Support and Home Care Services (PSHCS) clients are required to create an Emergency Plan in the case where a support worker cannot attend a shift and we are working with our clients to ensure their plans are update to date and address any concerns they may have.
If you are receiving care from another provider, including a family member, partner or friend, we highly suggest you create your own Emergency Plan if you have not already done so.
The Emergency Plan should include:
- Consideration of what support or care is essential to your health and wellbeing
- The names and contact details of a family member, partner, friend or trusted person that can provide informal support in the case you cannot receive care from your usual provider
- The names and contact details of other contacts you can reach out to in case the above person is not available.
We recommend discussing this possibility with your chosen informal support person or people to ensure they are available to support you if needed.
What if I can’t get any personal support or carers for my shifts?
If your provider cannot provide any support workers, and all other support options from family and friends are exhausted, you may need to consider hospital admission.
Current advice from Queensland Health is to make contact in advance with your local hospital to discuss this option in the event or the likely possibility of support disruption.
We have requested more information from Queensland Health about other options for people with spinal cord injuries who have no other option for support and will provide further information and advice as it comes to hand.
What if I need to be admitted to hospital?
As suggested, please contact your hospital in advance if you require emergency care when no supports are available. You may wish to organise transport yourself however an ambulance may be required in an emergency.
We have created some documents to assist you in the event that you are admitted to hospital and we suggest printing and completing a copy of each to be adequately prepared.
This document goes through everything you should consider having with you in the event that you’re required to be admitted to hospital.
Personal information to provide to hospital staff
Not all hospital staff have extensive experience supporting people with spinal cord damage. This document goes through your daily routine, requirements, medications and other conditions and its designed to provide to hospital staff so they can ensure your treatment is safe and effective.
Letter from GP to hospital staff
This letter is designed to be completed and signed by your GP to advise hospital staff of your condition and that your needs should be listened to and considered. This also includes the suggestion of allowing you to use your own Personal Support Worker during your hospital stay.
Autonomic Dysreflexia card
This card provides more information for hospital staff about the condition known as Autonomic Dysreflexia. This emergency condition impacts people with a spinal cord injury level ofT6 and above.