Reading a post by Griffin's Mom yesterday, I remembered that I may not have shared our planning for dealing with emergency personnel.
There have been numerous media reports of children and adults who died during conflict with police and fire personnel. The fear of the unknown by a child with special needs as well as the fear of being held down can stir multiple problems and increased aggression. I was very alarmed by that when Billy Ray's behavior was worsening (primarily because of medical issues that hadn't been discovered yet) and his repeated choking. The likelihood of having to call emergency at some point is high.
Our wonderful "Dr. Brice" (Brice Stanley, PA-C, Billy Ray's primary medical provider) had some very good suggestions. He said that if the EMT's were familiar with Billy Ray they were less likely to need to use force.
I contacted the supervisor of the EMT staff through our local fire department. We planned that Billy Ray will visit the fire house at regular intervals and various times of day so that he gets a chance to meet most personnel. As luck would have it, the fire house in our little town recently held an open house. Billy Ray and I attended together with his support staff.
We were able to introduce Billy Ray to the fire chief and he introduced us to three EMTs just coming back from a call. Billy Ray was able to wonder around with his support staff looking at the fire trucks and life flight plane while I discussed my concerns with the EMT's. We were also able to give them my business card which has links to this blog and my websites so as time permits they can read about Billy Ray. I felt very good about the interaction and plan to establish some relationship for Billy Ray with them.
There are numerous advertisements on the net about signs that say an Autistic person is in the house or the car. I asked if this would be important to do for our house. I was told that personnel don't pay a lot of attention to those signs because people move or situations change but signs are not removed.
I also had some concern about emergency medications because given without knowledge of Billy Ray's regular medications. We had experienced this problem in the emergency room on one occasion and in a lab where they just gave Billy Ray meds before a procedure without even checking about other meds we might have given him. It was suggested in our meeting that the most helpful thing we could do is have an accurate list of Billy Ray's meds easily available to emergency personnel.
We update his medication schedule regularly so it is available. We plan to print out a copy everytime there is a change and to include a copy of Abbreviated History (as described in Parenting Your Complex Child) in a file that is in the table just inside the door. It will be readily available to EMT's and to take to the emergency room.
Planning reduces risks as well as reducing the worry about emergencies.
Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
Parenting Your Complex Child Yahoo Group