You are not alone. Many adult siblings juggle multiple responsibilities, feel isolated and need support in their sibling role. Use these pages to get information on sibling issues, and to make contact with other adult siblings in the UK.
Planning for emergencies
We all have emergencies to deal with at some point in our lives - someone suddenly becomes ill or is admitted into hospital, or someone dies suddenly. As a sibling of a disabled person the need to plan ahead in case of such an emergency is really important, as the person admitted to hospital may be your disabled brother or sister’s main carer. The best way to plan for an emergeny is to have the foresight to have a plan in place before it is needed. As well as your disabled brother or sister getting the support he/she needs in an emergency, it will give you peace of mind. These are our suggestions for making an emergency plan:
1. Make an emergency contact list - for yourself and your family
Having specific numbers to hand will save you time and will help ease any stress you may feel. Gather together the contact details of your local emergency out of hours services, e.g. social services, emergency housing, doctors, emergency day care services, short break associations. Obtain contact details of neighbours and friends who you could call on for support and of emergency key holders for your brother’s or sister’s home. If possible, teach your brother or sister how and when to phone someone on the contact list.
2. Make an emergency contact list – for professionals and service providers
Make a list of telephone numbers and addresses in order of contact priority, of the main people in your disabled brother or sister’s life whom support agencies can contact in case of emergency. Give copies to support agencies and leave in a prominent place in your disabled brother or sister’s home.
3. Develop a ‘This is my life’ book for your disabled brother or sister
This will be a useful tool should someone else have to become the main carer in an emergency. Along with your other family members and your disabled brother or sister develop a book together. Provide specific details of your disabled brother or sister’s everyday life. Include things like:
- Dates for hospital, doctor and dentist appointments
- Details of medication and any allergies to medicine
- Information about health issues
- Details of everyday life – daily and bedtime routines, day centre times,..
- Things he/she can do by him/herself – making a drink, getting dressed
- Things he/she needs help with– getting washed, going to the toilet, cooking
- Likes and dislikes – food, people, clothes
- Triggers that may affect mood
- Communication – what helps him/her understand, signs of worry or distress, form of communication used
- Hobbies and social activities
- Friends and people who are important to him/her
- How he/she gets to work, college or day care
- Contacts details for people who support him/her
4. Join an emergency carers’ card scheme
Some local authorities run emergency carers’ card schemes. In different areas they provide different levels of support. Some have skilled workers who can help you draw up an emergency plan. This plan is held by the scheme which provides a 24 hour service. Carers carry a card and have a unique reference number. The card carries the scheme’s telephone number which the carer can call in the case of an emergency. The operator checks the emergency plan and makes the alternative arrangements required. This is a simple way of contacting family and friends or of getting professional help.
For details of existing schemes in the UK visit Carers UK emergency scheme list http://www.carersuk.org/Information/Findinghelp/EmergencySchemesList
Useful resources for emergency planning
Mencap have an emergency carers’ card and emergency planning pack for carers of people with learning disability http://www.mencap.org.uk/page.asp?id=3798 that they will post to you.
Eastleigh Borough and Romsey Mencap Society have a sample planning sheet and a sample life book that you can download from this page http://www.ebrmencap.org.uk/links.htm