How to Prepare Your Family for an Emergency When You’re on Hospice

It can be difficult to know what to do in case of a natural disaster or other emergency, especially if you or a loved one have a life-limiting illness that requires medical care. And with the arrival of hurricane season, it’s especially important to be as prepared as possible before an adverse event occurs. If you or a loved one are a patient of Agape Care, here are a few important things to keep in mind before, during, and after an emergency. 

What should I do to prepare for an emergency?

A member of your Agape Care Hospice Team will reach out to you to discuss specific details regarding your hospice needs during a storm. Here are some helpful tips to prepare:

  • Post emergency numbers by each phone and add them to your contacts on mobile devices. Also, be sure to post the Patient Emergency Sheet and reference the phone number with questions during the storm. 
  • Let neighbors know you may need help during an emergency.
  • Have a battery-powered radio and extra batteries, or a neighbor to keep you informed.
  • Keep a working flashlight and extra batteries handy.
  • Register with your utility company as a priority user during power outages, when oxygen is in use.
    • Any patient admitted to Agape Care on oxygen or a new order received will receive a letter that may be forwarded to their local electric power source to advise them of the patient’s medical need for oxygen in order that they can be noted as priority for having their power restored in the event of a power outage.
  • Post medical instructions (such as Do Not Resuscitate) on your refrigerator in an easy-to-see spot.
  • Prepare an emergency exit plan.
  • As you prepare, be sure to take care of your mental health, too. Hurricane season can be a difficult time, and it’s important to monitor your anxiety and stress levels. Try not to focus on what-if scenarios and remember to take breaks from watching the news. You can also ​​discuss any concerns with your care team during their regularly scheduled visits.  
What should I do during an emergency? 
  • Plan ahead for possible storm conditions by knowing where you will be safest.
  • Assemble and keep your own “Portable Disaster Kit” (identification papers/valuable paper documents, medicine, personal hygiene products, portable radio, flashlight, batteries, bedding, clothing, plastic bags, rope or twine, candles, kerosene lamp, lighter).
  • Listen to your local radio and television stations for National Weather Advisories.
  • Follow directions from the National Weather Service and local authorities regarding preparing for storms and/or evacuation instructions.
  • Local governments will open shelters as they are needed. Please note that shelters do not allow pets, so plan to protect them in another way. You can find information about emergency shelter resources available in your area by checking with the local department of health.  
  • Listen to your radio for announcements regarding openings and closings of local businesses, shelters, etc.
  • Fill containers, bathtub, and indoor washing machine with clean water.
  • Secure awnings and outdoor furniture.
  • Fill the gas tank of your car, and park it in a garage or away from trees and utility poles.
  • In the event of severe winds caused by a hurricane or tornado, go to an interior bathroom, get in the bathtub, and cover with a mattress for safety from debris.
  • Remain inside unless otherwise directed.
What do I do if my family has to evacuate? 
  • Discuss your plan with your family prior to an evacuation order being placed and share your plan with your care team so we can best support you.
What should I do after an emergency? 
  • Do not enter a building until an all-clear has been given.
  • Do not use any open flame devices until the building has been inspected for possible gas leaks.
  • Do not turn on any electrical equipment that may have gotten wet or may be broken/disconnected.

At Agape Care, the well-being of our patients and their families is our highest priority. If you have any questions about emergency preparedness or the care we provide, please contact us at 800-932-2738.