plan for the worst

Feb 24, 2018

Midlands RHC and host, David Beaton, suggests a few simple steps that will save time and anguish should a host be faced with a WWOOFer with a medical emergency.

Most of the time WWOOFing works well for both hosts and volunteers. However in September I received a call from one of my hosts who was dealing with a serious medical crisis. Fortunately, the outcome was satisfactory, but the incident did throw up some points that I feel should be passed on.

A medical emergency can arise as a result of accident, physical or mental illness.

Where to get help:

  • 999 for life threatening emergencies
  • NHS 111: the operators here will give advice, despatch an ambulance or first responders if necessary. They can advise on physical or mental illness. Staff are available who can speak a range of languages, just ask when you make first contact. Sometimes NHS 111 will need to call you back, so make sure you have enough charge in your phone and a decent signal. A landline is a safer option.
  • your RHC:  we are available to offer help and for you to discuss your concerns with us

WWOOFer information:

If you are handing someone over to the emergency services they will need the following information, so you should have it to hand. In an emergency you do not want to be trawling through your emails to find this information.

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Next of Kin and contact details
  • any medical history you know about

I know Taryn, our Host Contact, does recommend that you include this information in the questionnaire which you send out to potential WWOOFers. But is it readily accessible? We keep this information for current WWOOFers in a ring binder which is always to hand, but use any method which suits you.

Remember, you cannot rely on the WWOOFer to provide this information at the time.

If they are unconscious they obviously cannot, but be aware that if they do not have English as a first language whatever English they know quickly disappears when shocked, under stress, or anxious.

The WWWOOF admin team is always grateful to know if any of our hosts or WWOOFers have had to deal with an emergency while WWOOFing so please let us know using

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