How to Prepare for a Medical Event in the Middle of the Night

How to Prepare for a Medical Event in the Middle of the Night

Growing older comes with a whole set of concerns and having a medical event in the middle of the night when no one is around is a terrifying thought.


On average, close to 25 percent and more of the senior population in the U.S. live alone. That number expects to grow as boomers turn 65 years of age because this group segment has the highest divorce rates and childless marriages. Knowing that data, more seniors will find themselves aging alone.

In a Facebook group for elder orphans, one of the biggest concerns they face is dealing with a medical event in the middle of the night and having no one around to help. So, I asked Dr. Maria Carney, a geriatrician for advice and tips on how people living alone can prepare for a medical event, especially if one occurs after the urgent care centers have closed. Dr. Carney offered the following tips:

  • Develop a strong relationship with your primary care physician and the office staff
  • Find out what the office has a 24-hour service call phone line that you can call when you become sick during the nighttime
  • Find out if the hospital has a 24-hour service help phone line and learn the hospital where your physician works.
  • Know if your community has 24-hour Urgent Care Centers.
  • Some emergency rooms have fast track lines that address needs of those unsure if it is a real emergency. Ideally, you want to call the primary office first.
     

The other night, I put Dr. Carney's advice to the test. Here's what I found:

At 2:00 AM, I called my primary care physician's office. The recording instructed me to hang up and dial 911 if this is an emergency. Then it proceeded to say, "If it is not an emergency, visit our Urgent care Centers, after that, it continued and said, "We're directing your phone call to our physician on call."

I felt relaxed knowing that a doctor would be on the other side of the phone line if I needed to connect with one.

The following morning I called the RN at the physician's office. She told me that the doctor on call can only do so much via the phone and cannot treat, prescribe, or give advice. And anything short of having diarrhea and vomiting, you're better off calling 911 and going to the emergency room. For example, if you have

  • Fallen and you cannot get up
  • Fallen and hit your head and bleeding
  • Experiencing chest pain
     

Then you should dial 911 or go to the emergency room. The RN did state that if a person has a thought to call the emergency room or 911, that person should follow through immediately. Assessing one's medical situation without an evaluation is difficult.

Carol Marak
Aging
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Carol Marak earned a Fundamentals of Gerontology Certificate from the USC Davis School of Gerontology and advocates on behalf of older adults and family caregivers. She simpli ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 17-21

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 17-21

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on IRIS.xyz, April 17-21, 2017 


Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!


1. Market Keeping You up at Night? Look for the Right Hedge


Like so many others in the industry, I was wrong. For years, I was certain that the bull market was nearing its end. I thought the market was over-extended, and that, surely, the wild equities run was coming to an end. But everyone else was bullish, and perhaps rightfully so. And while I’ve watched equities continue on their spectacular rise, I do think now is the time (really!) to put a hedge in place. Here’s why. Here’s how. — Adam Patti

2. How to Manage Bond Market Pain and Seek the Gain When Rates Are Rising


The realities for fixed income investors have changed. How is this being reflected in markets? Bond investing has become increasingly difficult over the past decade. Markets have been heavily distorted by ultra-low interest rates and quantitative easing, as well as by extreme risk aversion in response to the global economic crisis and the eurozone debt crisis. — Nick Gartside

3. Seven Reasons You'll Fail as a Financial Advisor


Is being a financial advisor worth it? I am an optimistic person and I encourage other people to keep a positive mental attitude (shout-out to Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone). However, by taking a good, hard look at the negatives in life, we can successfully pivot towards the positive aspects that will help us achieve our goals. — James Pollard

4. The Secret to Turning Every Prospect into a Client


How do you treat one of your most valued, existing clients? Here’s a list of some things that come to mind. — Andrew Sobel

5. Why Do Clients Change Advisors?


According to many advisors I speak with, the only clients that leave are those who have died. And while attrition may not be a big problem in this industry, I have to assume that at least a few clients change advisors without doing so via the funeral home. — Julie Littlechild

6. Why You Should Focus on Getting Referral Sources


I was talking with an advisor last week about how to get into conversations about what he does. He was relaying the story of going jogging with a friend who could be a good client but is, more importantly, connected to a large network of people who fit this advisors ideal client description. — Stephen Wershing

7. How Big Picture Thinkers Seize More Opportunities in 7 Steps


Big picture thinkers are not unicorns - rare and mystical. And they were not born with the innate ability to think big. They do, however, pay attention to the broader landscape and take the time to think, analyze and evaluate. — Jill Houtman and Danny Domenighini

8. 5 Actions to Build Your Reputation


Your reputation is who you are and how you show up, Monday to Monday®.  Many of us take our image and reputation for granted.  Give careful thought to the kind of reputation that you would be proud of Monday to Monday® and that would resonate with your purpose and priorities. — Stacey Hanke

9. How Are You Poised to Begin Welcoming GenZ to Your Workplace?


The generational changing of the guard is a fact of life as old as time. Young replaces old in responsibility, importance, control and culture. Outside of the family, the workplace is perhaps where this is seen most regularly by most people. — Shirley Engelmeier

10. Are Price Objections REALLY Price Objections?


Next time you hear your prospects give you price objections, it’s not because of the price. The give price objections because they don’t know the full value proposition that they’d be paying for. And it’s not based on their need, or your features and functions. It’s based on the buying criteria they want to meet internally. — Sofia Carter

11. Understanding the Economic Value of Transition Deals


Last week we wrote about the economic rationale behind going independent vs. moving to another major firm as an employee. As a follow-up topic, we thought it prudent to analyze transition packages attached to big firm moves and peel back the layers of the onion to show the components of these deals. — Louis Diamond

Douglas Heikkinen
Perspective
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IRIS Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues to ... Click for full bio