Service providers work with consumers on a daily basis and are therefore better able to monitor health status. They can identify changes in consumer condition whether the change is gradual or sudden. It is crucial that service providers be familiar with the signs and symptoms of both urgent and emergency medical conditions in order to be able to seek appropriate interventions. When considering signs and symptoms exhibited by a consumer, it is good to ask yourself, “Would I call my doctor if someone in my family had these symptoms or would I call the emergency number?”. That answer will provide a common sense guide. If you would call your doctor first, then this is probably an urgent situation. If there is no doubt that you would call 911, then this is an emergency situation.
In the event of an emergency, direct support staff must act quickly and seek immediate medical attention. If there is any doubt about what is an emergency situation, call 911. Don’t call someone to ask if you should call 911. If it is a question in your mind, make the 911 call.
The following situations are always considered emergencies and you should Call 911 immediately:
When you call 911, tell them who you are, where you are, what has happened, when it happened and stay on the phone until the dispatcher tells you to hang up. Stay with the sick or injured person and follow first aid and/or CPR procedures. If possible, send another person to watch for the ambulance and quickly guide the emergency personnel to the scene.
Timeliness in recognizing the signs and symptoms of an urgent or emergency medical situation can be the difference between life and death.
Urgent medical conditions are conditions that you must report to a health care professional as soon as possible. While they may not pose an immediate threat to the life or safety of a consumer, a call must be made for advice and a prompt appointment made for professional evaluation of the consumer’s condition. There are many physical and behavioral changes that require urgent medical attention.
As stated above, direct support staff who see an individual consumer on a daily basis are in the best position to notice subtle changes in behavior that may be indicative of a change in health status. These staff should be supported and empowered to seek prompt or immediate medical care for that individual depending on the circumstances. Training in recognition of signs and symptoms of illness is essential to staff directly responsible for consumers.
Following are examples of changes that may indicate a need for urgent medical care:
Post a phone number for all household members to see that states where to call for medical advice. Include the primary care physician and any consultants.
Last updated on June 17th, 2010