School of Nursing

Emergency Response Communication Tools

Caregivers and unlicensed personnel in assisted living communities may feel unprepared for emergencies. Good communication is critical to assist emergency medical service (EMS) in providing residents the very best smooth and safe transition of care.

Video demonstrations of communication between AL and EMS

Effective communication between caregivers and EMS  video here

This video demonstrates use of several communication tools. This video can be shown to staff followed by discussion of what communication strategies worked well. This video may also be viewed by staff prior to practicing one of the role play scenarios.

Improving communication between EMS and caregivers video here

This video illustrates areas in need of improvement. This video can be shown to staff, asking them to discuss what they would do differently to improve the transition

Role play activities for staff to practice good communication

Supplemental materials

This form is filled out by a caregiver who is transferring a resident to the ER. It is designed to include all necessary information about the event and the patient. This form should be filled out before EMS arrives, and used by the caregiver to give a hand-off report to EMS. download

This SBAR badge card can be attached to staff ID badges as a quick and easy reference to SBAR. The card encourages caregivers to speak the language of SBAR when communicating with EMS. download

This document is to be used as a reference for all unlicensed caregivers and other healthcare staff. It lists what is needed by the 911 dispatcher when a call is placed. There are "Key Questions", which are the crucial pieces of information that must be provided to the dispatcher, as well as additional follow-up questions that may be asked. It can be used during trainings and then posted on information boards for frequent reference. This document is not intended to be filled out prior to calling 911 dispatch. It is intended to be a quick reference or could be used in role play situations to familiarize staff with making a 911 call for a resident. download

This document is taken from the INTERACT website and is designed for all staff of Assisted Living Facilities. It contains a list of symptoms and potential changes that may be observed in residents, and acts as a communication tool for the nurse and/or provider to assess the observed symptom or change. This tool is intended to be filled out when a caregiver observes something about the resident, and provides documentation of the event, as well as who they reported it to and when.

This checklist can be printed on envelopes that contain all of the resident's documents for transfer out of the facility. The caregiver preparing the resident's documents for emergency services will check off the boxes as a reminder that they included the required information in the packet. This checklist is to prevent or limit the instances of incomplete documentation sent with the resident being transferred to Emergency Department. download

This checklist provides a guide for the unlicensed caregiver to know what to do before and after calling 911. It lists who needs to be notified after the resident is sent to the hospital. It provides another checklist to be sure that all required resident information goes with the patient to the hospital. download

Additional resources

This is a set of evidence-based tools for community-based care settings designed to decrease acute care admissions. Also has communication resources and quality improvement guidelines that informed our ECLEPs project. Access to this site is free with registration.

Home Health Quality Improvement provides numerous resources for nurses in community care setting. Evidence based and some materials appropriate for assisted living settings. Includes recommendations to prevent hospitalization and falls. Access to this site is free with registration.  

These resources were developed with financial support from the Oregon Department of Human Services (Grant Agreement # 150472: Academic and Practice Partnerships to Strengthen Care for Older Adults in Residential and Assisted Living Settings, J. Cartwright, PI).