Older woman smiling at middle-aged daughter

Tips for Taking Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s to the ER


Going to the hospital can be very upsetting for people with Alzheimer’s disease. As a caregiver, being prepared can make a trip to the ER a little easier. Use these tips to lessen the stress of going to the hospital with an Alzheimer’s patient.

Prepare in Advance

Before an emergency situation arises, think through what the Alzheimer’s patient might need at the hospital. Pack an emergency bag ahead of time with the following items:

  • A list of the patient’s current medications and allergies
  • Health insurance cards
  • Doctor’s name and contact information
  • A “personal information sheet” with preferred name, typical behaviors, contact information for family members, and current living situation
  • Snacks and bottled water
  • Extra clothes and toiletries
  • Comforting items
  • Legal forms like power of attorney or a living will

Consider also making an emergency plan with your support system. Arrange to have a reliable friend or family member meet you at the hospital in an emergency situation. He or she can comfort the patient while you speak with the doctor and manage the paperwork.

Day of the Trip

If you need to take your loved one to the ER, try to stay calm, patient, and positive. The most important part of the trip is keeping the Alzheimer’s patient calm. Here are a few things you can do to help the trip run smoothly:

  • Notify the staff of the patient’s normal behavior and level of functioning.
  • Ask the doctor to save his questions for you, as the patient may be unable to answer properly.
  • Make sure you, a friend, family member, or caretaker stay with the patient at all times.
  • Offer comfort, support, and reassurance to the patient.

Taking these steps in advance can help you reduce the stress of an ER visit for both you and your loved one. Be prepared, prevent accidents, find support, and make a plan to head to your nearest St. Luke’s Health community emergency center in case of an emergency.

 

Sources:
National Institute on Aging | Going to the Hospital: Tips for Dementia Caregivers
Alzheimer's Association | Preparing Hospital Stays for People with Dementia

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