When someone relies on you being there, it is important to make a back-up plan for times when something unexpected happens or if you have to go away to hospital.

An Emergency Plan is a document to provide important details about the person you care for that can be used by your nominated emergency contacts or, if you are unable to nominate someone, by Social Services. Your emergency contacts will be people you trust to look after your loved one if you cannot. The plan ensures that whoever is called can provide the best support possible if you are unable to fulfil your caring role.  

Back-up carer: You may have a family member or friend who is willing to look after the person you care for if you cannot and who the person you care for is comfortable with.  You can discuss with them what they would need to do and check they’ve got a copy of your emergency plan. If you or they are worried about how they might cope with particular aspects of care, you can discuss these with their GP or district nurse.  You can give a copy to your back-up carer, the district nurse and any other key people involved in your friend or family member’s care. You can also place a copy prominently in the home of the 'cared for' where someone else is likely to find it if you’re not around.

What to include in your emergency plan

Below is a link to a template of a plan that you can download and complete yourself.  You may find that you want to put a great deal of detail in some sections so then just use the template as a guide and create your own plan structure.  Once you have completed your form it is sensible to give a copy of it to all your key emergency contacts.

Download template emergency plan (please be aware that this is from Enable Scotland)

Any plan will need to contain:

Name and contact details for:

  • you and the person you care for
  • your and their next of kin (closest living relative)
  • your back-up carer
  • your friend or family member’s healthcare professionals – their GP, district nurse and specialist nurse.

It should also include:

  • your friend or family member’s medical condition
  • any communication and mobility issues they have
  • details of any condition or medication that affects mental capacity, or ability to make decisions
  • a list of medication they’re taking and details of their on-going needs
  • information about who has keys and how to access the property
  • any key information about the person’s home, for example how to turn the central heating on
  • details of any carer’s emergency plan that been registered with the local authority and their phone number
  • any Power of Attorney that’s in place
  • any Advance Care Plan that has been made

Updating your plan: 

Make sure you amend your plan and notify your emergency contacts if anything changes e.g. medication, family illness or change in medical contacts

Involving Southampton City Council

It can be reassuring to have the local council involved in case other arrangements fall through or if you don’t have a back-up carer.

You can have a carer’s assessment with the local authority to assess your needs. The person you’re looking after can also have a social care needs assessment. At both of these, the person carrying out the assessment should ask about emergencies and what arrangements are in place if you’re ill or have an accident.

If you’re not able to care for your friend or family member and there isn’t a back-up carer, the Council might be able to help. They might arrange for a professional carer to come to your friend or family member’s home or they might arrange for them to go into a hospice or nursing home.  To enquire about what is possible phone Southampton City Council Adult Services on 023 8083 3003.

In some areas, your GP or district nurse might be able to arrange temporary nursing care at short notice to help your friend or family member. This is called a rapid response service. 

Emergency Services: Fire and Rescue

Have you considered what would happen in a household, community or environmental emergency?  It is important to register with your local emergency services so that they are aware of your special needs in a household e.g. use of oxygen, communication needs and physical disability that may make escape from a house difficult.  If you would like some home safety advice, please call the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service community safety team on: 023 8062 6751, weekdays 9am - 5pm.

Other advice to see:



Emergency Services: Medication and medical history

The Lions Club have created a handy Message in a Wallet in case of emergency.  You can fill in personal and medical details on a standard form that you can fill in and keep in your wallet.

The Lions Club Message In a Bottle scheme is a simple idea designed to encourage people to keep their personal and medical details on a standard form and in a common location – the fridge.

The bottle is kept in the fridge, where the emergency services will be able to find it in the event of being called to your home. They will know you have a bottle by the two labels displayed on the inside of the front door or on the main entrance to your home and the other is for the door of your fridge.

This scheme is free to the user. Whilst it is focused on the more vulnerable people in our community, anyone can fall downstairs, so this scheme can benefit anyone, including you.

As a minimum it will save the Emergency Services valuable time identifying you and your emergency contacts. By telling whether you have special medication or allergies or not, it is a potential lifesaver and provides peace of mind to users and their friends and families.

Bottles are free of charge and can usually be found in your local Chemist or Doctors Surgeries.

Thanks to a number of other organisations, you may also find that you can obtain one through your nearest;

  • Neighbourhood Watch group
  • Age Concern
  • Council Offices
  • Housing Associations
  • and many other places including Police stations.

In Case of Emergency (ICE)

ICE (In Case of Emergency) is a way to help emergency staff identify fast who to contact. You can store the word ICE in your mobile phone address book with the number of the person you’d like people to contact, for example your back-up carer. If something happens to you, ambulance, police or hospital staff will look for the word ICE in your phone’s address book and call that person. If you have more than one emergency contact, you can list them ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc.

Your phone may have a password protected lock preventing access your address book but you can put ICE information on your phone’s lock screen. Your phone instruction manual will have information about how to do this or you can visit Incaseofemergency.org.

Carer’s Allowance and emergencies

You can continue to claim Carer’s Allowance for up to 12 weeks if you temporarily stop caring for someone because you’re ill or in hospital.

If you have any questions about Emergency Planning, please contact us on 023 8058 2387 or by email to [email protected].