BASIC FIRST AID
Most often you will be the first person on the scene at a medical emergency. You may witness someone having a stroke, or having a heart attack, or suffering a seizure, and being able to recognize common medical emergencies and deliver the proper first aid in these situations are important skills.
The interventions that are outlined here are very basic, but it is information that many people don’t know and the techniques you will learn can be life saving. Some of them will apply to emergency situations that occur at home or in public, the basic principles of responding to a medical emergency are:
- Help: In many of these emergencies such as a cardiac arrest the first thing to do is to get help because you cannot provide adequate care by yourself. If you are unsure, call for help.
- Safety: This refers to both the victim and the rescuer. One of the primary rules of medicine is “First, do no harm,” and one of the primary rules of emergency response is “Don’t make more victims.” Don’t do anything that will harm the client, yourself, or someone else.
- Organization: Stay as calm and organize as possible. There is almost always more time than you think and much of the pressure of an emergency is the pressure you place on yourself.
- A myocardial infarction (MI) happens when the blood supply to the heart is completely blocked and part of the heart muscle dies. People having an MI (which is more commonly called a heart attack) are pale, sweaty, short of breath, and have severe chest pain. The chest pain is often described as “pressure” or as “crushing.” Someone having can MI can suffer serious complications and/or die if treatment is not provided quickly.
- If your come upon this situation,Call 911 immediately: Time is critical.
- Do not attempt to transport the client yourself.
- Stay with your client until EMS arrive.
DIABETIC EMERGENCIES: HYPOGLYCEMIA
- People with diabetes need oral medication or injectable insulin to keep their blood sugar at a safe level. Hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar drops below 60mg/dL and because the brain essentially can only use blood sugar for energy, permanent brain damage can occur if hypoglycemia is not quickly corrected. The signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia are confusion, disorientation, rapid pulse, sweaty skin, and weakness.
- Glucose: If the client is awake and conscious give some form of easily digested sugar such as candy, juice, fruit, or even table sugar. Many clients who have diabetes carry glucose tablets or glucose gel and these should be given if they are available.
- Do not give someone who is hypoglycemic AND unconscious food or fluid.
- In this situation, call 911.
MUSCULOSKELETAL INJURIES AND LACERATIONS
- Musculoskeletal injuries that may be considered medical emergencies are dislocations, fractures, lacerations, and sprains.
- Don’t move the victim: This rule may be relaxed if with minor injuries, but with all other musculoskeletal injuries keep the victim immobile until help arrives. Use common sense.
- Don’t move the injured part: This rule can also be relaxed in certain circumstances, but unless the injured part will obviously be damaged further by remaining where it is don’t move it. Never move someone who has an injury to the head, neck, or back. There is one exception to this rule. If the victim has suffered a cardiac arrest and is lying face down, the person should be placed face up, but must be moved very, very carefully. The head, neck, and back should be moved together and they should be moved while in proper alignment with one another: this is called logrolling.
MANAGING MEDICATIONS IN THE HOME
- The majority of the clients we service are in the elder population. Elders, on the average, take anywhere for 5-10, if not more, medications daily.
- Many elderly patients struggle to keep up with their medication refills. On top of having to call in a refill, seniors may find it difficult to find someone available to drive to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription. An in-home aide helps to solve this problem and simplifies the refill process. Assisting the client in calling the pharmacy for refills and In some cases, picking up the prescriptions. Others may prefer to arrange a medication delivery service to ensure that the needed prescriptions are always available on time. No matter the method, either way will ensure that all medications are in the home.
- Having an in home aide can act as a liaison between the client and their family.
- Keeping communication open between the client and their families is a way to ensure the client is safe with their medications.