Unlike an emergency room or urgent care center, clinics don’t normally spend a lot of time treating emergencies. However, a situation can arise at any minute when treating patients, and it’s important to be prepared. Even patients who seem well or the friends and family accompanying them can experience an emergency while visiting your clinic. Here are four things every clinic should consider adding to their emergency response kit.
An EpiPen, a device that delivers a quick injection of epinephrine, is an essential part of any emergency kit. This device is used to prevent and treat fatal anaphylactic reactions during an allergic attack. It can quickly restore vitals like breathing, heart rate and blood pressure to normal. Most severe allergy sufferers carry one with them at all times, but a new allergic reaction can happen to anyone at any time. Patients may be especially vulnerable when receiving vaccines or medications.
Portable Patient Monitor
Tracking vital signs can make the difference between life and death during an emergency, but getting a patient hooked up to monitoring equipment when time is of the essence is a challenge. Consider adding a portable monitoring system to your clinic’s emergency response kit so you can bring the equipment to the patient instead of struggling to get them into an exam room. If your clinic is on a tight budget, you can often find refurbished used patient monitors for sale that are in brand new condition.
If you can only add one thing to your clinic’s emergency kit, make it a defibrillator. Defibrillation is a first-line treatment for cardiac dysrhythmia that saves many lives. It’s often used to revive patients in cardiac arrest and is more effective than manual CPR. A defibrillator is especially important if you have many elderly patients.
More than one million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. You probably have at least a few diabetic patients in your clinic, which makes keeping supplies on hand for diabetic emergencies a necessity. Make sure your emergency response kit includes a blood glucose monitor, insulin shots and glucose tabs or candy for episodes of hypoglycemia.
Although it’s important for a clinic to be prepared for emergency situations, remember that the best course of action is to transfer the patient to a hospital as soon as possible. All emergency care at your clinic should focus on stabilizing patients so they can be safely transported and cared for in a well-equipped emergency room.