Preparing for a Crisis
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​Cardinal Innovations Healthcare requires you to have a written crisis plan if you are at risk of inpatient treatment, incarceration or out of home placement. Developing a crisis plan for everyone to follow during a behavioral health emergency can help you get the outcomes you want. The plan is developed with your treatment team, and it can be recorded into a computer database so anyone who is treating you, including hospitals, can follow your instructions. Your crisis plan will be shared with all of your caregivers.

An example of when a crisis plan is valuable could be for an individual who has a substance use disorder and plans to attend a party where alcohol will be served. The plan would outline what the individual should do, which may include calling a sponsor or going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

Writing a crisis plan

You begin writing your crisis plan by identifying early warning signs of issues specific to you. You should share these with people in your support network who can help you if you experience a crisis. Your crisis plan should also include a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), which is a list of what you need to stay healthy. Peer Support Specialists, individuals who have mental health and substance use disorder service needs, can help you make these lists. Individuals who have avoided crisis/relapse can help with ideas for remembering medications and appointments. They also can be good listeners when you need to talk because they have had some of the same problems.

Making a list of what you want to happen in a crisis will:

  • Protect your right to make medical decisions and choices about your health care
  • Help family members make decisions when you cannot
  • Help you remember allergies to medications or foods
  • Inform your  doctors of your wishes
  • Help you stay in recovery longer and decrease the likelihood of regression
  • Increase your self-esteem in dealing with stress
  • Arrange for someone to be with you if you are fearful
  • Stipulate who can pay your rent and bills, or take care of your pets if you are hospitalized