Disaster Safety & Assistive Technology: Protection for Seniors & the Disabled

Disaster Safety & Assistive Technology: Protection for Seniors & the Disabled


Emergency Preparedness: How It Differs

When disaster strikes, our first instinct is to check in with our loved ones and make sure they’re okay. But if your loved one is a senior or has a disability, you can’t afford to wait to “check in” — timing is everything during an emergency, and you need to buy them as much time as possible to react independently. You should create an emergency preparedness guide to keep them safe and accessible even as a crisis is unfolding.

Old age, limited mobility, and sensory processing issues can all negatively impact one’s ability to respond. We’ve assembled this guide to help establish a centralized collection of resources and assistive technology that you can use for all aspects of disaster safety, from prevention through intervention and evacuation.

The goal here is to make sure your loved one (or their caregivers) have no delays in being alerted to danger, maximum reaction time, and the greatest possibility of successfully evacuating to safety or getting assistance if needed. Every resource listed below helps with this, both in disaster and normal times.

We focus on assistive technology here — starting with automobile resources and then expanding to general safety — but we’ve also incorporated ideas for local resources to consult with, including workshops and first responders. These groups often have recommendations appropriate to your geographic location and climate, state-of-the-art suggestions, advice on discounts, and even training programs to help your senior loved ones know how to use their assistive technology.

How Can We Protect Our Seniors?

The fact that elderly individuals are the most vulnerable to disasters is very well documented. For example, 75% of the bodies found in New Orleans during and right after Hurricane Katrina were aged 60 or older, despite only comprising 15% of the population. Researchers examining this disaster identified both the lack of evacuation facilities as well as handicaps as major contributing factors to mortality.

The good news is that because seniors are a significant, easily identifiable subset of the population, they are a major target for programming, services, and tools. By focusing on making it easier to alert and communicate with seniors, we can help ensure their path to safety. Additionally, we want to help reinforce the kinds of routines that can help them maintain stable health and increase long-term resilience. Review these action items and resources as you plan out how to protect yourself and/or your loved ones.

Don’t wait until the threat of disaster to look into these tools and resources. Even in normal daily life, they all provide value and protection.

  • Maximize the cameras in your vehicle. Being aware of your surroundings becomes that much more critical during a disaster. There are specific camera features built into automobiles that can help you safely maneuver through peril, keeping yourself and those around you safe even with obstructed visibility.
  • Rearview monitors are already required for all new cars by May 2018, but it is worth making sure your monitors work properly, and that you are comfortable using them.
  • 360-degree camera systems help provide a bird’s eye view of your camera in relation to your surroundings. Though helpful for everyone, they are particularly useful for people who have trouble seeing or having trouble moving to see, such as how drivers might need to turn their neck and shoulders quickly. During a disaster, you might be faced with limited range of sight through your windows, and so every bit of help you can get could make a crucial difference.
  • Blind spot monitors can detect other cars near the driver’s side and the rear of the vehicle and issue a warning signal in a medium easily handled by the driver and matching their preferences, whether that be a sound, a light, or even a vibration.
  • Maximize the lighting in and around your vehicle. Again, you need to make sure you see as much as possible – and are also seen by others, which can help keep you safer and also make it easier for you to get help if you are in distress.
    • Adaptive headlights that adjust according to the direction you turn the steering wheel can help you navigate better through inclement conditions.
    • Automatic high beams turn on during lowlight conditions and help give you one less thing to remember. This helps increase your field of vision, while also making your car more visible to others.
    • Use auto-dimming rear and side-view mirrors to reduce glare and enhance visibility without having to think about it.
  • Automate crash detection and first responder access when on the road using telematics systems which combine GPS coordinates with on-board diagnostics to record data points about driving patterns. These systems can detect crashes, making them excellent warning systems that can summon emergency responders even when the driver is injured or unconscious.
  • These days, each car maker has their own affiliation with telematics companies, so consider this as you purchase or equip your vehicle. Other factors to consider are smartphone integration, location and driving alert settings (what can you configure, can the data be accessed remotely/on a smartphone, etc.), and even diagnostics abilities. Be sure to understand telematics before using them, including how they might not have the impact on car insurance that you thought.
  • Check to see if you can have driver drowsiness detection installed in your vehicle. Different systems can use different data points to trigger warnings, including biometrics, lane monitoring, and even steering input. If you are partly injured in any way – and might not realize it – such a system can tell and make sure you are kept safe.
  • Automate emergency braking. Seniors may have reduced reaction time, but this can be compensated for through technology that slows the car down in time to reduce or even impact. Aside from preventing crash mortalities, this also protects seniors from injuries that may be difficult and expensive to recuperate from. You can think about this as the automobile version of reducing ‘fall risk.’
  • Install power steering, maintain your suspension system, and use an automatic transmission. Reduce the physical demands of driving as much as possible to minimize fatigue and maximize reaction time for senior drivers. Make it easier for your senior to steer through a smooth drive, maintaining full control over their vehicle.
  • Consider a steering knob or other simplified steering systems to accommodate any physical limitations. (Be sure to check its legality in your state.) Also, a thick steering wheel can be easier for those with arthritis to grip, particularly if it is heated.
  • Consider the complexity of the dashboard and the size of the gauges. Test drive and make sure that the buttons on the dashboard are comfortable spaced and easy to use, and be wary of too many touchpads – these can be difficult to operate and very distracting.

 

elderly seniors safely driving in a car while happy

  • Check out the assistive technology built into mobile phones. With options for emergency alerts, large fonts, flashing lights for ring tones, easily referenced contacts, and fully customizable dashboards, you can tailor your smartphone to accommodate your seniors’ needs and comfort with technology. This will ensure that your senior can access the resources they need wherever they are.
  • Use reminders wisely. Setting automatic reminders for maintenance steps can help make sure that your resources are optimized and ready, even in the face of danger.
  • Resort to a simple flip phone if necessary. If smartphones are overwhelming., consider buying a simple emergency flip phone, which often have built-in large fonts and loud tones. This will keep your senior safer wherever they are.
  • Install keyless entry and ignition to prevent delays from misplaced keys.
  • Automate monitoring for deviations from routine at-home. This is helpful for rapid intervention not just in the event of a natural disaster, but even for individual crises. Alarm.com’s Wellness device (formerly BeClose) monitors your loved ones’ activities and allows you to set alerts for deviations in their behavior.
  • Facilitate easy communication between seniors and responders. There are plenty of devices out there that keep emergency responders at one’s fingertip if a phone alone does not suffice, or if you’d like to make it even easier; for a monthly subscription, you can have 24×7 monitoring. You want your senior to be able to access help immediately and easily, even if they are in distress or rendered immobile. Ideally, no landline is required for these services, although that might be an issue if your senior lives in an area with poor cellular coverage. Often these medical alert systems (e.g. MobileHelp) offer fall buttons and waterproof devices, allowing them to be carried everywhere.
  • Make it easier for your seniors to communicate directly with you. Devices exist that convert SMART TVs into easily navigated videophones, often with reminders and other features included; Independa is one example of this. They also allow you to check the weather forecast and set reminders for your loved ones, which can be particularly helpful when preparing for a possible natural disaster.
  • Make sure your senior receives weather, emergency, and local breaking news reports. With special apps for smartphones and smart TVs now available, as well as plug-in devices capable of achieving this as well, you have many options for easily staying up-to-date. Weather alert radios are one particularly useful device as they can be set to a specific region, and can be purchased to generate alerts in a modality that works best for you; for example, generating a flashing light in addition to a sound to accommodate the hard of hearing.
  • Invest in an easy to navigate computer designed for seniors. Features to look for include touch screen, bright displays, text-to-speech, and simple apps/interface. Change is difficult for everyone, and it can be hard to master new devices in old age. Keep your device limited to the essentials if you want it to actually be used! Telikin is one maker of senior-focused computers.
  • Centralize wellness management and communication. Monitor health and activity, manage medication administration, and facilitate communication – with family members, caregivers, and even emergency personnel – using a one-stop platform, such as GrandCare’s software, which works on any device that connects to the internet. One added consideration is that this removes from your senior’s plate the upkeep needed to maintain and access accurate contact listings for responders, health care professionals, and family members.
  • Automate medication administration to prevent emergenciesTabSafe is a device that can help with this; it also has an online reporting feature that can come in handy in the event of an emergency, where a disoriented or injured senior might not recall their last dosage, or – for example, in the event of an evacuation – might not be able to access their pills at home to confirm that they’ve taken all of their medication appropriate.
  • Keep mobility devices handy and charged. It’s not a terrible idea to have a spare cane or walker, or to maintain a back-up source of power for a scooter, just in case. Keep them accessible for your loved one and their caregivers.
  • Check for local workshops. Usually free, one of the best places to start is with locally-organized workshops. These are usually hosted by first responders, and can help provide the most up-to-date expertise specific to both the problems (e.g. hurricanes) and resources (e.g. hurricane response team) found in your area. They may even organize events for particular groups, such as seniors or even kids. Specific institutions to look to for such help include:
  • Local libraries
  • Senior centers
  • Area Agencies on Aging
  • Access centers
  • FEMA or Homeland Security hosted
  • Local organizations for particular age groups or disabilities
  • Check with first responders. These include police and fire departments as well as local branches of the American Red Cross, who may be able to provide you with the right contact information and measures for resources within your community.
  • Review how to register for disaster assistance. Depending on the event that occurs, knowing how to register for this can help provide the necessary resources you need to handle. This is also a great way to make sure that your senior has the appropriate contact info handy and is comfortable making any necessary calls, checking sites, and reading their email.

Additional resources

Here are some great sources for more details to help you or your senior develop safety plans, and become ready should disaster strike:

How Can We Help People with Sensory Disabilities?

Seniors are not the only group whose physical limitations render them vulnerable in the face of disaster. Anyone whose sensory processing is affected in any way – including anyone who is blind, visually impaired, deaf, or hard-of-hearing – will be at risk during a disaster, where they may struggle to react fast enough or seek safety. An extreme case can be found in those with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), who constantly struggle with the detection of sensory signals and/or appropriately reacting to them.

Fortunately, there is technology available to help accommodate these disabilities in addition to what we’ve already covered above. In this section, we dig a bit deeper into accommodating disruptions in sensory perception.

  • Convert alert signals into modalities that do work. Assess the strengths and deficiencies you are working with. Be sure to consider the stability of the disability; if it is degenerative, consider an adaptation that will retain maximum helpfulness over time even as the condition progresses.
  • Append visual signals – such as turn signals – with sounds for those who struggle to see. Devices exist such as the Turn-Alarm that help produce sounds in sync with your light signals, to help compensate for sight deficiencies. This can also be very helpful to make sure you or your loved one do not accidentally leave your turn signal on. Miscommunication with other drivers can lead to accidents, especially during an emergency state.
  • Mount a siren alert device in your car for those who have trouble hearing. These devices can detect the high-frequency sound waves emitted from emergency vehicles and provide alternative signals for those who are hearing impaired.
  • Use this principle around the house as well. Carbon monoxide alarms, fire and smoke detectors, and even weather alert systems exist that generate signals that work for particular disabilities, e.g. generate strobe lights that flash before the hard of hearing. The sooner your loved one can be alerted to any sort of disaster, the sooner they can take cover.
  • Know the triggers. For your loved ones with sensory processing disorders (SPD), what causes symptoms to flare up? With the chaos that often ensues in the wake of a crisis, it is imperative to be keenly aware of triggers and have some sort of strategy to cope. Combined with therapy, this remains the best thing that can be done by those with SPD to prepare for disasters. After all, during an emergency there is no way to completely cut out triggers like sirens or flashing lights.
    • Does sound trigger? Build a ritual to mute phones, and discuss a coping mechanism in case sudden sounds come on while out and about. Consider using ear plugs; do not totally block out all sound, but instead rely on them to muffle out the extremes and keep clarity of mind around your loved one. Keep spares nearby in case of emergency.
    • Are bright lights an issue? Make sure to familiarize them with auto-dimming features on their mirrors so that glare does not trigger them. Consider tinting the windows (within legal limits). Keep sunglasses – preferably polarized – on hand for particularly difficult days.
    • Is smell a trigger? Consider having a face-mask on hand, or a sample of a tolerable scent (e.g. a bottle of clarifying essential oil) to help drown out any offensive scents and keep your loved one collected. Again, having this on hand in case of emergency will help make it easier for your loved one to balance their sensitivity while also seeking shelter.
  • Make sure your emergency kit includes medicine to deal with acute symptoms of sensory overload. For example, keep migraine medicine or anti-emetics on hand. These can help provide relief and hence clarity during critical moments.
  • Use a bioptic telescope to see better while driving.  These are eyeglasses mounted with miniature telescopes, allowing the driver wearing them to view details in the distance… and have enough time to react with their vehicle. Be sure to check your state’s rules about driving with this visual enhancement.
  • Invest in an assistive listening device (ALD), which enhances the function of hearing aids and cochlear impacts by filtering out the background noise. Particularly during an emergency situation, this could help encourage swift, appropriate response to danger by helping the individual hear and more accurately process what’s going on.
  • Use voice clarifying devices for TV audio to hear alerts. Weather alerts and other critical warnings can be conveyed by local news circuits, and so being able to hear and process television communication is essential. Devices like TV Ears help to amplify/clarify dialog without needing to turn up the volume.
  • Use amplified ringers and phone amplifiers. Whether for land lines or cell phones, use these tools to adjust the volume beyond the normal range and ensure that your loved one who is hard of hearing can hear the phone ring or during a call. Safety alerts and instructions from first responders need to be audible in order to be practical.
  • Use a weather alert radio, which is set to monitor weather for a specific geographic area and provide alerts based on upcoming potential emergencies as well as any existing ones. Features to look for include pillow shakers and strobe lights, to make sure the device’s notifications match what your loved one can sense.
  • Invest in TTY, TDD, or TT – acronyms for the same thing: solutions that exist to accommodate individuals who cannot hear to parse speech. Whether you buy a communications solution or modify an existing one, options exist for every form of phone: landlines, wireless, and even computers. These allow for keyboard input of conversations that can be read out loud. The essential part here is to make sure that there is a way for your loved one to interact with others in case of an emergency.
  • Use video phones to allow for sign language communication. Consider portable solutions to keep this option available even for individuals on the go. When you do get a portable solution, make sure to consider how it will be powered, and if there are any other back-up precautions you need to take in order to ensure that your loved one can actually use it in the event of an emergency.

 

Disabled boy in wheelchair smiles as he gets on the bus for school

  • Register yourself for emergency assistance. If you have a disability, it’s imperative to register with your local fire, police, and/or emergency department offices so that you can receive the help you need. If you have accommodations that require electricity, register with the utility company (if they have this capability).
  • Assess yourself. The Red Cross recommends outlining what your needs are and how they can be met, both before and after a disaster. Record these, whether in writing or audio.
  • Know your support network. Yes, the goal here is to provide individuals with independence for disaster safety, but it is always a good idea to support this with taking note of whom your emergency contacts are, in terms of family, caregivers, and local resources. Collect their up-do-date contact information. For personal contacts, let them know about each other as well as how to reach each other. Be sure to take note of medicine, disabilities, special needs, and sensitivities, and discuss these with your people. Compile and keep a reference document on you that can be used in case of an emergency.
  • Know your evacuation plan. Depending on the disaster – fire, inclement weather, medical emergency – where should you go? Make sure you know where shelters and hospitals are, and share these with your support network.
  • Look for disability-oriented workshops and training. These are often put on by local organizations dedicated to serving a particular disability, as well as professional organizations led by providers who frequently handle specific disabilities. They often address both the assistive technologies as well as services that are available to affected populations.

 

Additional resources 

For further information on assistive technology that can help you or your disabled loved one avoid disaster, check out the following resources:

 

Dr Mercola: Tai Chi for balance and emergency prevention

Prevent emergencies with Tai-Chi, Yoga, Pilates, dancing and whole foods rich in Potassium, iron and other vitamins and minerals. We should also not over medicate as most medications can affect your brain and balance.

Connie


 

Dr Mercola on Tai-Chi for balance and preventing a trip to the emergency room.

  • Balance is important to athletic performance, work and in reducing the number of seniors who fall each year, which drives direct medical health care costs to $31 billion
  • Tai chi has demonstrated improvements in balance, strength and flexibility in the elderly, which may potentially have an impact on the 800,000 people hospitalized each year after a fall
  • Benefits of tai chi also include improved cognitive performance, increased brain volume and reduced stress; integrating other balance training may add variety to your routine

By Dr. Mercola

Balance is extraordinarily important in your life. Whether you’re older than 65 years or younger, both your body and mind require balance to achieve optimal health. Unfortunately, many spend hours behind a desk each day, increasing their risk of impairing muscle development and losing strength and balance.

Many exercise programs engage the use of machines for cardiovascular work without improving balance and coordination. The elderly experience more risk from poor balance, as it increases the potential for falling and a subsequent bone break.

It can be easy to take your ability to walk, move and balance for granted. But, like all things in life, without practice your skill level diminishes. Going up and down stairs, getting up from a chair and picking up something off the floor are all everyday activities that require balance.

To successfully train your balance requires performing movements that closely approximate these activities, or activities that commonly result in falls. In new research, participants who engaged in the practice of tai chi had a significantly reduced risk of falling and demonstrated improved balance.1

How Do You Balance?

What may seem like a simple task is actually a complex coordination of several different bodily systems. Your sensory systems give your brain accurate feedback about your relative position in space; your brain processes the information, and your muscles and joints coordinate the movement necessary to stay upright.

Inner ear infections, inability to sense the ground or loss of eyesight are just a few of the conditions which may significantly impact your body’s ability to sense the environment and react appropriately. For the most part, balance is on “auto-pilot,” or done subconsciously without significant effort.

If you experience a balance problem, focusing on staying balanced may increase fatigue and shorten your attention span. With age, some people find they get dizzy or unsteady when in motion. This can be a combination of environmental sensory integration and muscle strength.

The list of disorders that trigger balance problems includes positional vertigo, Meniere’s disease and vestibular neuronitis,2 to name a few. Balance problems are among the more common reasons the elderly seek a physician’s advice. While a disturbance in the inner ear is one common cause, so are loss of neuromuscular integration, muscle tone and strength.

Tai Chi May Reduce Your Risk of Falls

In a meta-analysis of 18 different studies involving over 3,800 participants who were 65 years and older, researchers determined those who practiced tai chi at least once weekly had a 20 percent lower chance of falling than those who did not practice tai chi.’3

The researchers compared senior students against how much time they spent practicing tai chi, the style and the falling risk for the individuals. They found any amount of tai chi exercise was associated with a lower risk of falling as compared to control groups. As the frequency of the sessions increased from once weekly to three times weekly, the risk reduction jumped from 5 to 64 percent.

The researchers felt performing tai chi improved the participant’s knee extension strength, flexibility and balance, and reduced the risk of falls. As this was a meta-analysis, the researchers were only able to measure the variables previous studies had included. Dr. Chenchen Wang, director of the Center for Complimentary and Integrative Medicine at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, commented on the results:4

“Many important components include: exercise, breathing techniques, awareness of the body, focused attention, mindfulness, balance and function, visualization and relaxation. These components also positively impact health by improving self-efficacy, psychosocial functioning, and depression and can help patients bolster self-confidence, which also helps balance and coordination to avoid falls.”

Preserving Independence and Cost

Nearly 40 percent of people over 65, and half of those over 80, will fall in any given year. Falling is the leading cause of injury death in people over age 65 and 1 in 3 Americans over 65 will fall each year.5 Over 800,000 older adults are hospitalized each year after a fall, many because of a broken hip or head injury.6

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls in older adults cost nearly $31 billion in direct medical healthcare costs. As the number of aging people in the U.S. is rising, the CDC estimates both the number of falls and the total health care cost to treat individuals will only continue to rise.7

These cost estimates do not account for out-of-pocket family expenses to care for the individual after hospital release, time away from work, or homecare expenses not covered by Medicare or insurance. The total cost of a fall and subsequent injury in the elderly is significant, but not inevitable with practical lifestyle adjustments and balance training.

The National Council on Aging developed a Falls Free initiative to address public health issues, injuries and death from falls in the elderly.8 The initiative includes a coalition of over 70 organizations working toward educating older adults on fall prevention. A fall is one of the greatest risk factors for the elderly to lose their independence,9 which in turn is associated with the development of depression.10

Moreover, depression often complicates other health conditions the elderly may suffer, such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and is associated with an increase in healthcare costs.11 Even living at home, but being unable to drive, doubles the risk the elderly may suffer depression.12

The longer individuals are able to stay independent, both physically and cognitively, the lower the risk of depression, which in turn has an impact on healthcare costs and the burden on the family. Implementing effective preventive strategies may reduce falls and improve quality of life.

Dialing 911 directly from a hotel room

Hank started a petition after his daughter Kari was murdered by her estranged husband in a hotel room a few years ago. It is a truly tragic story in that Kari’s nine-year-old daughter repeatedly tried to dial 911 from the room’s phone, but couldn’t get through because some hotels require dialing “9” before 911. She had no idea.

Hank can’t live with someone else going through this experience again. He’s in the midst of a three-year campaign to force hotels nationwide to provide easier phone access in emergency situations. He’s already helped change state laws on this matter in Texas, New York, Illinois, Maryland and Tennessee.

Now, federal legislation — Kari’s Law — is awaiting a key vote by the US Senate. More than 550,000 people nationwide have supported his effort to help people get emergency assistance when in need. You can help make sure this life-saving legislation doesn’t get lost in the mix of the major issues grabbing the headlines right now.

Will you add your name to make sure your lawmakers see the importance of making this a federal law? Every signature matters.

Petitioning U.S. House of Representatives

Require all MLTS/PBX Phones Dial 911 Easily: Help Enact Kari’s Law

Petition by Hank Hunt
Winona, Texas
573,369
Supporters
On December 1, 2013 Kari Rene Hunt was murdered by her estranged husband whom she was intending to divorce. She agreed to meet him at a local motel to leave their children with him for a short visitation while he was in town.

Her estranged husband ambushed her in the motel room and cornered her in the restroom. During the struggle and resulting death of Kari, her oldest daughter, age 9, (name with held for privacy) attempted to dial 911 from the motel room phone. She followed instructions as taught by her mother on the way to call for help but she was never instructed that in some hotels and motels you must first dial a “9” and then 911.

We are attempting to ensure that any person needing police, EMS or the Fire Department at any hotel or motel location or from any MLTS/PBX system be able to dial the numbers 911 and receive emergency response. In a panic, any under age child, or for that matter anyone in an emergency situation should be able to depend on dialing 911 from any phone in the United States and receiving assistance.

We pray the lawmakers in our Congress and Senate hear the cries of Kari and her children and enact a law requiring all hotel and motel chains, including all “Mom & Pop” locations have all phone systems updated to E911 systems. These systems allow the 911 call to automatically connect to a 911 operator without having to dial a “9” in order to get an outside line. Total E911 fees/funds collected from the use of telephones in the United States was $2,322,983,616.36 in 2012. Total amount spent for E911 or 911 enhancements in the United States was $97,367,543.46 leaving $2,225,616,072.90 un spent. Where is this money? Some states such as Illinois, has diverted monies from the collection of E911 fees to it’s general fund therefore being spent on who knows what. The money is there, it’s being collected by who? THE GOVERNMENT! It’s being spent on very little E911 functionality or just sitting there. Why?

WE ask that Wyndham Hotels, which is the parent company of Baymont Inns and Suites where this incident occured, lead the way in the industry by updating the antiquated phone systems still used in some of their hotels. Sadly though, 2 year 11 months laterwe have heard nothing from the Wyndham Corporation, however, the Marriott International Corporation has mandated to all franchise hotels under the Marriott brand to update their systems to be direct dial 911. Can you you guess what hotel we will be using from now on will be? That’s right , MARRIOTT!

Seconds count and when a 9 year old little girl is mature enough and brave enough to attempt to dial for help, she should be answered. When that child dialed 911 she should have heard, “911, what is your emergency?” Instead she heard static. We understand the cost implications (which in most cases is very minimal or free) and know that E911 has been a requirement for a few years, but only a handful of states require it. Why? Money is collected from every citizen that uses a phone but it’s the citizen that is NOT benefiting from the collection of these funds.

We ask the United States Congress to make it a requirement for all hotel and motels operating the United States and offer conversion assistance where needed. We also ask that such law(s) prohibit excessive charges for doing this update, in most cases it is simply a series of buttons from a keyboard that will solve the problem.

Please help make this “Kari’s Law”.

https://www.change.org/f/help-get-karis-law-through-the-senate?source_location=petition_show

Bay area senior care and home assistance

We cannot leave our seniors at home without a compassionate and caring caregiver 24/7. We also need to senior safe our house to avoid falls and other accidents/emergencies. Leave contact information and medication list/schedules to a caregiver and another copy in your refrigerator and a copy of medication list in the purse of your mom or dad.

When choosing a caregiver, trust and compassionate care are important. Call 408-854-1883 or email at motherhealth@gmail.com if you need a caring caregiver for your seniors at home alone.

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Emergency Childbirth: When Baby Arrives Before the Midwife or Doctor

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Most     births are    spontaneous and normal. The baby is crafted for survival. Relax and    do the following after contacting the midwife or doctor who is on her way:

  1. Move     her to a comfortable place away from the toilet. Call for help.

  2. Make     sure the room is warm and draft free. Remember that baby needs a     warm environment. A clean, dry towel and a hat should be ready for     the baby.

  3. Prepare     a bowl of warm water with provolone iodine solution and a clean     cloth in it. Place a clean under pad under the mother with the paper     side next to her skin. Place another empty bowl (to catch the     placenta later on) in close proximity together with scissors, gauze,     bulb syringe and cord clamp. Put all items gathered on a clean towel.

  4. Wash     your hands thoroughly. Tear open several packs of 4 x 4’s sterile     gauze. Put gloves on if available.

  5. As     the head starts emerging, put gentle counter pressure against the     bulging perineum. Don’t touch anything except the mother and baby so     as not to contaminate. As the baby’s head starts emerging, remind the     mother that she will feel the “ring of fire” which is normal.

  6. Place     a gauze 4 x 4 over the mother’s anus, to prevent contamination. wipe     the feces away, if necessary, and place a clean 4 x 4 over the anus.     Make sure you don’t contaminate the gloves or your hands.

  7. Ask     the mother to pant as the head crowns and is born. Support the     mother’s perineum with both hands.

  8. When     head is out, slide your fingers in along the baby’s neck to feel for     the umbilical cord. If you feel the cord, try slipping it over the     baby’s head. If you can’t, it’s usually not a problem to leave it,     unless it is too tight and keeps the baby from coming out.

  9. If     the cord is very tight: with your fingers placed between the baby’s     neck and cord, clamp with two hemostats or two cord clamps in two     spots an inch apart.

  10. Make     sure you put both clamps on next to each other on the same piece of     cord. Carefully cut between the two clamps and unwind the cord from     baby’s neck. Keep both clamps on and be sure they are clamped tightly.

  11. If     the bag of waters is still around the baby’s face, as it is born,     tear the bag by pinching it apart with your fingers.

  12. Wipe     the baby’s face with a gauze 4 x 4. Use the syringe to suction the     baby, if needed. While keeping the bulb syringe squeezed, gently     place the tip (sweeping from the side) in baby’s mouth and release     the bulb syringe. Spray contents onto a gauze 4 x 4. Do the same for     both nostrils.

  13. Ask     the mother to push as the baby rotates to face one of the mother’s     leg. With one hand under baby’s head and the other on top of it,     exert gentle pressure downward pressure on the baby’s head to     facilitate the delivery of the top shoulder.

  14. When     the top shoulder is out about two or three inches, lift upward on     the baby’s head to help the bottom shoulder come out. The baby’s body     will follow. Hold the baby (with her/his face down) with your two     hands since the baby is slippery.

  15. Place     the baby on mother’s belly with mom lying on her back and both in     tummy to tummy position. Cover the baby and put her/his hat on. Make     sure you don’t pull the umbilical cord.

  16. As     soon as the cord stops pulsating, you can cut the cord. Attach cord     clamp securely 1/2 inch from baby’s belly button. Place gauze under     the cord. Cut cord 1/2 inch away from the clamp on the other side     (away from the baby).

  17. Baby     should be pink. If baby is bluish, white or limp and not crying, do     the following: Run your fingers up the baby’s spine, massaging     vigorously. Flick baby’s feet with your fingers. Having mother talk     to baby, continue the above. Keep baby warm and dry.

  18. If     baby is still not responding and it has been one minute since birth,     begin mouth to mouth resuscitation with gentle puffs from your     cheeks. Keep baby warm and dry and have someone call the emergency personnel.

  19. Watch     for signs that the placenta is detaching such as a gush of blood,     the cord gets longer and mother feels more contractions.

  20. When     the above happens: wrap gauze around section of the cord, so it’s     not so slick. Place opposite hand against mother’s pubic bone and     press gently inward and upward. Ask mother to give little push with     the next contraction. using gentle cord traction, guide the cord     downward as you see the placenta start to emerge, lift upward with     the cord to help placenta out.

  21. Wipe     and warm the baby by wrapping the baby well and putting the baby on     mother’s breast, apply CPR if necessary, wait for the midwife or     doctor to cut the cord, let the mother massage her uterus and stay     with the mother.