When there is an emergency, it is important to remain calm and stay in control to focus on the emergency and what needs to be done. If you are in an emergency, contact 995 for the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

Signs of a Medical Emergency

A medical emergency is a sudden illness that requires immediate medical attention.

Seven signs of a medical emergency are:

  1. Sudden or severe pain, including chest pain
  2. Breathing difficulty or shortness of breath
  3. Uncontrolled bleeding of any kind
  4. Sudden confusion or disorientation
  5. Sudden dizziness, numbness, weakness or vision change
  6. Coughing or vomiting of blood
  7. Continuous vomiting or diarrhoea

Keep a list of all the medicines that your loved one takes, with dosage and special instructions, if any. 

Steps to Take in An Emergency Situation

Step 1: Call 995 for an ambulance

Step 2: Provide information

When you call for an ambulance:

  • Give the age of your care recipient
  • Explain the problem and how long it has been going on
  • Quickly state medical history

For example, “My 73-year-old mother has been having difficulty breathing for the past thirty minutes. She had a heart attack two years ago."

Preparing For A Medical Emergency

ID and Medical Documents

  • Carry your loved one’s personal documents such as identification card and hospital discharge summary in case he/she needs to be admitted.
  • Photocopy important documents (such as current and past medical records and test results) so that you can give emergency personnel this information while keeping the originals.

Contact Details

Keep a list of contact details of your family members as well as healthcare professionals for medical emergencies. Prepare this list on your mobile phone or make a list separately.

List of Warning Signs

Ask your healthcare provider for emergency warning signs and write them down. You can also display these warning signs in a prominent area such as the refrigerator or next to the entrance of your home. Make sure that all family members know these warning signs.

List of Reminders

Leave a gentle reminder with the following points in the emergency centre so that everyone remembers the steps to take during an emergency situation, e.g.

  • Keep calm as much as possible
  • Keep your voice level even. This will help you to stay calmer, and will also help people around you stay calm.
  • Get family members to help
  • Never leave your care recipient unattended
  • Do not move your care recipient excessively, especially if he/she has fallen.

Learn to Give First Aid

While it is important to call a healthcare professional for serious emergencies, you can learn to be prepared for minor injuries such as cuts and bruises.

Most home emergencies involving elderly people are falls - due to problems walking, weakness, and giddiness. It is useful to have First Aid skills so you can provide basic medical care for your loved ones.

First-Aid Kits

You can get a pre-packed first-aid kit at your nearest pharmacy. Check your first aid kit regularly to ensure that all-important items are there. Throw away expired medication.

CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)

Sometimes, during an emergency, you may need to administer emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). It is important that you learn the right procedures.

First Aid Resources

You can contact the Singapore Red Cross Society for information on first aid courses and first aid kits. 

You can also find First Aid courses on the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) course directory.

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