Because in an emergency, your child's life may depend on it
It’s your worst nightmare: The 3 a.m. frantic drive, bursting through the door of the ER, child in your arms, shouting at the top of your lungs, “My child needs help NOW!”
You’re desperately counting on the ER docs to save your child. But, to do their job, they’ll need your help. Your child with special needs is complex, and there’s going to be lots of questions and information and knowledge needed fast. There you are at 3 a.m., overwhelmed with fear. Hair on fire.
Will you be able to give the ER team the critical information they need?
In this post, we’re going to show you how to confidently answer “Yes! I have the answer!” by using Vest to create your Ultimate Special Needs Emergency Room Plan. So you can rest a little easier at night.
Disclosure: I created Vest to help parents solve many of thier unique challenges as they navigate life with a child who has special needs. In this post, I'm going to recommend that you use Vest to create your child's ER Plan. Because it works!
Where to start?
The biggest obstacle facing special needs parents in creating an Emergency Care Plan is “Where do we start?”
To answer that question, let’s go straight to the experts - The American Academy of Pediatric Medicine - Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine.
Over 20 years ago, they wrote this very helpful article and guide on “Emergency Preparedness for Children With Special Health Care Needs.” That article and its suggestions still hold up today. Click here to download and read the article.
In it, you will see recommendations from ER docs and experts on how to prepare a special needs emergency care plan. There’s a very helpful form and checklist for creating an your plan. It’s a great form, with a list of the things you should cover in your ECP. The best thing about this form is that it’s totally free to use.
But will this recommended form really work as your “Ultimate” Special Needs Emergency Care Plan? Let’s take a closer look.
What You Need To Do
According to the pediatric ER care specialists, here’s what you need to include in your Emergency Care Plan:
“Emergency care of children with special health care needs is frequently complicated by a lack of a concise summary of their medical condition, precautions needed, and special management plans.”
“If the child is at risk for future medical emergencies, the child and family should participate in developing a written emergency care plan. Copies of this plan should be kept in easily accessible places at the child's home and any other location where the child regularly spends time. The plan should include provisions for any
special training that will be needed by emergency medical personnel, family members, or other persons who may be called on to provide emergency care for the child.” Pediatrics, October 1999, VOLUME 104 / ISSUE 4
Wow. That’s a HUGE task. And it’s critical that you get it done.
How to Actually Get your Emergency Care Plan Done
Remember, it’s 3 a.m. and you’re in the ER with your critically ill child. The doctor is needing answers. They’re hoping that you’ve shown up with a complete and current Emergency Care Plan in hand. Pediatrics, October 1999, VOLUME 104 / ISSUE 4
Now let’s break down those recommendations of the Pediatric ER specialists into checklist form to see what they expect you to do:
● Develop a written emergency care plan (ECP) for your child, which will include:
○ A precise and current summary of your child’s medical condition
○ A description of precautions needed when providing medical care
○ Special health care management plans for your child
■ List all Special Training that would be needed for:
○ Emergency personnel
○ Family members
○ Any other person that would need to help with emergency care
● Keep copies of ECP at home, and everywhere else where your child regularly spends time
And I’m going to add a few more critical tasks regarding your ECP:
● You must have a medication list which is current and accessible at all times in all settings
● The ECP as a whole must be current and updated as your child ages and her needs change
● Subsequent caregivers must have access to your ECP, and they must be able to easily maintain your child’s ECP when you’re 80 years old or when you leave this earth (whenever that might be).
Ready, Set, Go...
OK, now that you have the Emergency Care Plan checklist, you’re ready to jump right in and do it. Just download the CPEM form, fill it in, circulate it, keep it current, never lose it. And keep your ECP with you at all times. Right.
By now, many of you are probably saying to yourselves - “Here we go again - another item on our never-ending menu of worries.” Or, “I know this is so important, and I’m super-stressed about not having it done. But I don’t have the time and energy to do all that right now.”
For many parents, when faced with this daunting task, and for entirely understandable reasons, they simply defer this critical task to another day.
And therein lies the problem.
I’ve spent the last 20 years helping parents navigate life with special needs. And I’ve learned that the last thing parents need is another list. Please don’t get me wrong - the effort and intent and forms provided by the CPEM are fantastic. They put a lot of work into this, and they are truly trying to help your child and you with their ER form and lists.
But when it comes to navigating special needs, I've learned that lists don’t work.
That’s where Vest comes to the rescue with the Ultimate Soultion for your ECP.
With Vest, you can create the Ultimate Emergency Care Plan for your child with special needs. Here's how Vest lets you do that. Sigh.
How can we say that Vest will empower you to create the “Ultimate” Special Needs Emergency Room plan for your child? Simple: Because with Vest, you’re actually going to be able to get it done!