Home Enteral Nutrition (HEN) patients should do special planning to stay healthy and safe in the event of a disaster or emergency. It is important to be prepared to ensure your nutritional needs are met and your therapy can continue without interruption. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the unexpected.
Create an emergency contact list
An emergency contact list can be posted in an obvious place in your home and kept with you at all times. Include phone numbers and contact information for people you need to notify in case of an emergency. At a minimum, you should include the name and contact information for the most important people involved with your care, including:
- Your physicians
- Your pharmacy
- Your emergency contacts
- Option Care Health Customer Support
- Your Option Care Health local office
Keep basic medical information handy
A list of important medical information that you keep with you can help if you have an emergency at home or when you’re away. You should include anything you would need a doctor or family member to know, such as:
- Medications, including dose, frequency, reason for taking them
- A copy of current nutrition prescription in case your medicine is lost
- Name and phone number of the prescribing physician
- Any allergies you have
- A copy of your health insurance card
- Your blood type
- Any special equipment needs
- Any disabilities or conditions
Keep emergency supplies on hand
When you have a condition that requires special medical care, it pays to think ahead about what you need that might not be readily available in an emergency situation. Items that make you feel comfortable and secure should be on this list, including:
- A three-day supply of formula and medical supplies
- Extra bags or syringes in case you do not have a clean water supply to wash them out
- Water for flushes: Have a three-day supply of bottled water in case the water. supply is affected or if your home has a well and the water pump is affected by a power outage
- If you administer your feeds with a pump and you are experiencing a power outage, be sure you have emergency gravity bags and instructions on hand.
- Hand sanitizer.
Follow general emergency preparedness guidelines
General guidelines for emergencies should also be followed as they apply to everyone and will help keep you and your family safe. A few basic precautions include:
- Contacting your utility companies with a letter from your doctor that informs them if power is life supporting due to a medical condition.
- Setting aside or packing extra medications, clothes and footwear in case you leave your home.
- Keeping ice packs and a cooler on hand, in case you lose power and need to keep medications cold.
- Storing enough bottled water for three days for each person in the house.
- Keeping batteries in flashlights and emergency radios to make sure they are in working order.
- If you have a generator, ensuring that it works and that you have enough gasoline to keep it running for a few days.
- Having cash on hand, as credit/debit cards and ATMS may not work if there is no power in your area.
Connect with Option Care Health
With over 2 million patients receiving Nutrition Support Services and other forms of infusion therapy at home or at the infusion sites, Option Care Health is one of the most successful and experienced outpatient infusion therapy providers. Connect with us to see if there is an infusion site near you or speak to a representative to see if in-home infusion therapy is an option for your patients.