An emergency is, by its very definition, something that is unexpected and requires immediate attention. And yet, most people do not invest adequate time and energy to plan ahead. Individuals and families managing a bleeding disorder already know that life is pretty good at throwing us curve balls – do we really want to leave something as important as our unique healthcare needs up to fate? Planning ahead might not stop certain events from happening, but it sure can have a positive impact on the outcome. Planning ahead will allow you to use your energy to stay focused on the solution, not the problem.
Living with a bleeding disorder every day teaches us how to handle the unexpected so, in many ways, our community is often better at coping with emergencies than others. With preparation and a plan, you can know that when the time comes your actions will be purposeful and productive. The advice contained in the following emergency resources is not intended to be a substitute for consulting with a medical professional, but may provide some practical information that can help change an out-of-control crisis into a manageable situation.
Medical Identification Resources
It's important for people with a bleeding disorder to have medical information on them in case of an accident or a medical emergency. Medical identification resources available:
MedicAlert services ensure that emergency responders and hospital staff get your up-to-date medical information the moment they need it so they can make informed decisions about your treatment and care. With MedicAlert Foundation, you can be confident knowing that your medical ID connects you to the most dependable emergency support network — because every moment matters. MedicAlert has several types of memberships. Please visit www.medicalert.org for more information.
HFA's Items Program can help with funding to cover the cost of Medic Alert. Contact HFA for more information.
When Emergency Service Providers arrive on the scene of a medical emergency to render aid, one of the first steps taken involves removing the patient's seat belt. The Rescue Facts Emergency Information Pack provides a method of communicating crucial information to EMS in the event that you are unable to. The Rescue Facts information strap is specifically designed to capture the attention of emergency personnel while protecting your privacy. Visit www.rescuefacts.com for more information.
ATHNready Personal Health Report
The American Thrombosis & Hemostasis Network (ATHN) is a non-profit organization that partners with over 130 hemophilia treatment centers. One of the services they provide is a pocket-sized flash drive that stores personal health information. Ask your HTC about the ATHNready Flash Drive so you will be prepared with critical care information where and when you need it. Learn more under the “Patients” tab at www.athn.org.
Emergency “to go” bag
It is recommended that every person with a bleeding disorder have a “to go” bag ready at all times. Read more on tips and items to include in an Emergency “to go” bag.
Natural disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year, and people with a chronic illness are more vulnerable than those without special health issues. You may need to flee without medicine and supplies, or they might become damaged. Your usual support system may be absent, or you may have to go without vital connections to healthcare professionals. Following a natural disaster, care is usually focused on acute situations like injuries, infections or psychological and mental health. Caring for chronic illness is rarely seen as a priority – you need to make it YOUR priority.
For more tips and tricks to be prepared for any situation, this toolkit from HFA can help.