LSS Service Helps Caregivers with Emergency Care Planning for Loved Ones

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

A new service by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) helps caregivers build peace of mind by working with them to develop a plan for any potential situation when they could no longer care for their loved ones.

LSS’ Emergency Care Planning Service works directly with caregivers and their families to thoroughly assess their needs and create a comprehensive plan that meets those needs.

Carol Huesman of Detroit Lakes started assisting her husband, Ken, with daily tasks in 2018 as his physical abilities started to decline from Pulmonary Fibrosis, a lung disease he was diagnosed with three years earlier that started to affect his ability to breath. 

Last February, Carol, Ken and their two adult sons met with Laura Hawk, regional coordinator with LSS Caregiver and Companion Service, to develop a plan for Ken’s care if Carol suddenly became unable to provide care.

Ken passed away in April of 2020, but Carol said having a plan for his care offered peace of mind as they planned for his increasing needs.

“It was reassuring that I wouldn’t have to go over how to care for Ken with everyone in our circle,” Carol said. “Laura made a document with all of the information they’d need that we kept right on our fridge.”

Creating these plans can also help older adults stay in their home during a temporary emergency, such as their caregiver staying in the hospital.

“It’s planning for an emergency, but ultimately, creating a roadmap for when your loved one transitions into a new phase of their life when they need more care,” Laura said. “Planning empowers the caregiver and entire family with information and choices that include ways to keep loved ones at home.”

Through Emergency Planning Service, LSS works with caregivers and their families to answer questions such as: Who would care for my loved one if something happened to me? What tasks would that care involve? What resources are available in my community to support my family in providing care?

LSS offers this Emergency Care Planning to caregivers in 31 Minnesota counties. Caregivers can get connected by calling 1.800.488.4146 or visit the Emergency Care Planning service webpage.

“Help is out there, but as a caregiver, you have to be willing to reach out and ask for it,” Carol said. “I know that it helped my husband a lot. He didn’t feel like we were on our own. We had just a great amount of support and caring people.”