Aspirus VNA Home Health

Safety in the Home

Be Prepared For Emergencies

To prepare for unexpected emergencies:

  • List all emergency phone numbers and keep them by the telephone and bed. Include fire, police, ambulance, health care providers, utility companies and consider an emergency response system. (Lifeline is available through the Aspirus Volunteers by calling 847-2781)
  • Register with your local utility. Ask the utility company if you can have priority help in power outage
  • Patients with oxygen systems or other electrically powered medical equipment should register as priority electrical users. Also register with your fire department
  • Keep emergency supplies on hand. Include flashlight, portable radio, back-up power supply for any device that could create a life threatening situation if it stopped working, canned foods and bottled water, medicines and medical supplies, first aid kits and blankets

Steps You Can Take To Prevent Burns

  • Do not smoke in bed or when sleepy. Get help to quit smoking
  • When cooking, do not wear loose-fitting clothing (bathrobes, nightgowns, pajamas)
  • Learn to use microwave ovens
  • Set the thermostats for water heater or faucets so water does not become too hot
  • Install a portable hand fire extinguisher and smoke detector that flashes lights or gives other signals that don't involve sound
  • Keep access to outside doors unobstructed
  • Use several electric outlets to avoid overloading
  • Turn the stove off when you leave the cooking area

Fire Hazards

A fire can be a devastating and life-threatening experience. Know what you can do to prevent fires. Read the following prevention tips carefully.

Wood Stove

  • Make sure chimney is clean; do this on a regular basis
  • Make sure wood stove is properly installed
  • Make sure there is not a lot of material stored close to the wood stove, or placed on top of the stove

Space Heaters

  • Never leave a space heater unattended
  • Never use a space heater as permanent source of heat
  • Keep all types of material away from space heater

Paper/rags left around window

  • Never use a paper bag or rags to stop a draft or to repair a crack or a break in your window. Use proper material to make these repairs
  • Never store rags soaked with paint/paint remover or other combustible near your furnace/wood stove/fireplace


  • Never smoke in a room where there is oxygen in use by a patient
  • Do not store tanks near fireplace/wood stove/furnace
  • When transporting oxygen tank, always transport in a secured stand when traveling
  • Always turn off tank when not in use
  • Avoid using petroleum jelly near the nose during Oxygen Therapy
  • Keep empty oxygen tanks lying flat on the ground to prevent tipping over


  • When emptying ashtrays, make sure there are not ashes/matches

Confusion and Cooking

  • Never leave the kitchen when cooking
  • Never wear loose/hanging cloths when cooking
  • Place a reminder sign above the stove, to shut off stove/oven
  • Have some meals delivered

Prevent Medication Errors At Home

Medication errors are common in the home setting because patients are often taking multiple medications. Typical problems include taking medications at the wrong times, taking medications that are old and out-of-date, or not taking the medicines that have been prescribed.

Some tips to help prevent medication errors from occurring:

  • Know what your medicine is for
  • Follow prescribed dosages and schedules
  • Know the side effects of the medicines and when to call your doctor
  • Be able to open your medicine bottles, if not, discuss with physician immediately
  • Other questions you should ask yourself or a loved one that is taking medication:
    • Can you correctly take your medicine?
    • Can you read the medication label?
    • Are you able to purchase or obtain your medications?
    • Do you correctly store your medications?
    • Do you know the difference between generic and brand names?
  • If you are having problems with your medication regimen, is there a competent caregiver that will be able to assist you?
  • Herbal supplements or over the counter medicines may interact with prescriptions. Always inform your health care provider about anything you take to avoid potential complications.