The worst first aid kit is one that caregivers or family members of seniors can’t find when it’s needed or doesn’t have the proper items in it, which is why residents of Hollywood and elsewhere should make sure that their kits and other medical supplies are always prepared, just in case of possible future emergencies.
The team at Accredited Home Care is always happy to offer pointers on what families should do to make sure their home first aid kit or kits don’t fall into “the worst” category as well. Their advice and experience working with clients through Southern California can help you make sure that your supplies are all up-to-date and include appropriate items for seniors, household members, and even strangers, neighbors or guests. It’s also important that these items are in a place that is easy to locate and that everyone in a household knows how to find and access.
The best time to do this, of course, is when things are calm and you have time to assess what’s in your case, what’s missing, and decide on any appropriate additions. Then you can take the time to track down a replacement or new items, repack it all and put in a convenient spot.
This way, you’ll have time to calmly pack and re-pack, and not tear your home apart looking for your kit in an emergency and then dig through your kit once you find it. There may be times, such as when someone is actively bleeding, that all you want to do is grab a bandage even if it messes up how everything is arranged.
This is certainly acceptable in emergency situations, just make sure you replace anything you removed later and rearrange the supplies.
Planning your kit
First aid kits vary by design, manufacturer, and size. But generally, they all include basic supplies to provide minimal treatment for minor wounds and pain. Typically there are items to stop bleeding, such as bandages or gauze, plus various adhesives to make sure they stay secure. There are items to sterilize hands or wounds, plus gloves to reduce infection risk and pain relievers.
There are various wraps to help immobilize limbs that have been hurt, such as a sprained ankle or badly bruised shoulder or elbow.
First aid kits aren’t necessarily designed to help everyone with everything but they are generally good enough for use by “amateurs,” or those with limited to no medical experience. Certainly, those with medical/advanced first aid training may carry along their own more deluxe kits, but they likely have received more training.
Items to treat minor burns are often included, as are items to help reduce symptoms and pain of an allergic reaction. This could be a bee sting, bug bite or a plant that causes a reaction.
Although anyone can buy a first aid kit and put it in their home, workplace or car, many of them do include space to remove some less common items and replace them with items that likely will see more use.
Planning for seniors
Most first aid kits are considered for every age, although some for kids may include cartoon adhesive bandages. But people with seniors in their lives may consider changing some items around – and some seniors may actually enjoy the kid Band-Aids!
- More items to help deal with falls. Since seniors are more prone to fall and hurt themselves, a prepared kit can be ready to assist if something happens, either a minor injury or stabilize them until more advanced care is provided. Items can include ice packs to help reduce swelling and pain; aspirin to help reduce pain, and Ace-type bandages to support hurt legs. If a fall breaks the skin, some bandages can help stop the bleeding.
- Help with bruising. Seniors with conditions like neuropathy may not notice if they hurt their arms or legs and cause bruising such as running into a table or chair without realizing it. A first aid kit can’t do a lot about internal bleeding, but it can provide pain relievers or help clean up visible blood.
- Thermometer. Modern electronic thermometers can provide a quick reading. This may be a good way to assess someone’s condition, such as if they’re overly hot or cold. If cold, you can provide them with a blanket or a warmer location, and if overly hot, figure out ways to cool them down. Plus, a care provider or nurse might be interested in their temperature if they need to be seen.
- Their medical information. Details about a senior can be included in a binder or notecard that’s kept inside “their” first aid kit. This can include items like allergies, current medications, or past significant health issues. This information will be useful if more care is needed, such as if they have to be transported in an ambulance or taken to a hospital.
This time of year is a perfect time to focus on arranging details in a kit. World First Aid Day takes place the second Saturday in September each year, which is Sept. 8 this year. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies organize the event each year to get people around the planet aware that first aid can help save lives.
Contact Accredited Home Care for more information about arranging first aid kits.