“West Chester, Pennsylvania | Residents were wrapped in blankets as they were forced to evacuate the senior living community during the five-alarm fire at around 11 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2017. Steven M. Falk/AP” – PHOTO SOURCE: New York Daily News
by Lori Smetanka and Beverley Laubert
“Recent natural disasters exposed long-term-care facilities’ and community care systems’ levels of preparedness to handle emergencies and protect their residents and patients. Hurricanes and wildfires have tested communities’ emergency readiness and ability to respond. The failure of these providers to be prepared, or to effectively implement procedures that would protect their frail, vulnerable populations, has resulted in serious health consequences, even death.
“Long-term-care facilities have long been required by law to have detailed emergency response plans and procedures in place. But these regulations were not clear on what details were to be included in the plans, only requiring that facilities be prepared to meet all potential emergencies and disasters; specifically fires, severe weather and residents who go missing. Facilities also were required to train employees in emergency procedures, and to carry out random drills for staff.”
On December 20, 2017, legislation to improve emergency preparedness in nursing homes was introduced in the House by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL) and Congressman Tim Walberg (MI). This bipartisan legislation is in response to the devastating impact on nursing home residents of one of the worst hurricane seasons on record.
The bill, H.R. 4704, the Nursing Home Comfortable Air Ready for Emergencies (CARE) Act, would:
- Codify the federal Emergency Preparedness rule that went into effect November 15, 2017 for nursing homes.
- Mandate that facilities have in place an alternate source of energy capable of powering heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems following a natural disaster for at least 96 hours.
- Increase civil money penalties for facilities found out of compliance with CMS Requirements of Participation, including authorizing civil monetary penalties up to $100,000 for non-compliance resulting in a resident’s death.
- Direct the Secretary of HHS to review facilities based on the Emergency Preparedness (EP) rule and publish the findings on the Nursing Home Compare website.
- Create a loan fund for smaller facilities, or those serving more low-income residents, to come into compliance. Facilities must have a monthly rate of less than $6,000 for private rooms, or have fewer than 50 beds, to qualify.
- Require states to prioritize nursing homes in the same manner as hospitals are prioritized in All-Hazards Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans, and to include in those plans information on how utilities plan to ensure that nursing homes return to functioning as soon as practicable following a disaster.
Although the new Emergency Preparedness regulations are much more comprehensive and thorough than previous rules, they still leave critical gaps in resident safety. Such gaps include maintaining HVAC systems and power restoration, which are both addressed by the Nursing Home CARE Act. Consumer Voice believes H.R. 4704 would better protect nursing home residents in emergencies and is pleased to have assisted Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz in considering policy options.
To read the bill, go to: https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hr4704/BILLS-115hr4704ih.pdf.
“‘Nothing could have prepared us for this event.’ | Heroes of Las Vegas: the hospital staff called to action after the mass shooting” – The Guardian
by Dan Hernandez in Las Vegas. Pictures by Hector Torres
“Heather Brown with Thea Parish and Tatiana Banassevitch.” Photograph: Hector Torres for the Guardian
“Sunrise Hospital’s emergency room was already full at about 10pm on 1 October when a police officer dropping off an accident victim received a call on his radio announcing: ‘Shots fired.’
“Doctor Kevin Menes and nurse Rhonda Davis looked up from their charts. ‘Is this for real?’ Menes asked. A series of gunshots crackled through the officer’s radio in automatic bursts. It sounded like a combat zone. As he ran out, the officer said, ‘That’s the Route 91 concert.
“Immediately, Menes realized there would be hundreds if not thousands of victims, and Sunrise – Las Vegas’s largest trauma center and the hospital nearest to the site of the country music festival – would probably receive the most.
“He and Davis started to prepare.”
Continue reading this article at The Guardian.
Key in responding or reacting to incidents for any agency, entity, organization is having understanding of the nation’s Incident Command System (ICS) – introduced following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Since then agencies, municipalities, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other organizations across the united States have continued to learn, train, develop plans and refine their ICS and emergency planning.
These resources can help your agency, entity or organization begin the planning process.
- CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule – effective November 2016
For more information or for assistance about planning for emergencies and critical incidents that “are never gonna’ happen here”, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“At Florida Nursing Home, Many Calls for Help, but None That Made a Difference” – The New York Times
Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times”
“HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — The emergency room workers at Memorial Regional Hospital rushed the first patient to Room 9, which was devoted to the hope and practice of arresting death. They threaded fluid lines into her veins and readied a breathing tube. Even through gloves, they could feel the heat corseting the 84-year-old woman’s body.
“As they prepared to insert a catheter, they saw what looked like steam rising from her legs.
“The numbers from the catheter’s temperature gauge would not stop climbing. The nurses, respiratory technicians and other medical staff watched it halt at last at 41.9 degrees Celsius — 107 degrees Fahrenheit.
“It was only the fourth-highest body temperature Memorial would record that morning among elderly patients being evacuated from the nursing home nearby, the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, where air-conditioning had failed after Hurricane Irma chewed up power lines across the state.
“Eight residents of the nursing home were dead by the end of that day, Sept. 13, and three who were among the 140 evacuated have died since.”
Click here to continue reading this New York Times article in its entirety.
“Because emergencies and disasters strike quickly, you might be forced to evacuate your neighborhood or be prepared to be confined to your home. What would you do if your basic services: water, gas, electricity, or communications, were cut off? Recognizing that state and regulating agencies have specific responsibilities to protect those entrusted to their facility’s care, it is incumbent upon each of us to learn how to take precautions to protect ourselves and cope with disaster by planning in advance and by working with those in our support network: family, neighbors, friends, and caregivers, as well as local responders, as a team.”
Each week week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth.Click here to download the newsletter as a .pdf file.
Click here to download the newsletter as a .pdf file.
Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within the Department of Homeland Security, National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities.
- Make an Emergency Plan.
- Sign up for alerts and warnings in your area.
- Learn your evacuation zone and have an evacuation plan.
- Check your insurance coverage and review the Document and Insure Property guide.
- Plan financially for the possibility of disaster.
In an email message from the US Department of Veterans Affairs Caregiver Support program, this reminder is especially relevant:
September is National Preparedness Month— a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters. Take a step toward preparedness. Create and maintain a comprehensive file of information about the person you are caring for. Whether you use an electronic format or a three-ring binder, keep the file where you can grab it quickly in an emergency or on your way out the door to an appointment.
Some items to include in a Patient File:
- Care recipient’s medical history
- Physician Contact Information
- Health history (e.g. surgeries, other medical conditions)
- Medication List
- Insurance Information (e.g., prescription, vision, dental, long-term care, etc.)
- Legal Documents
- Living Will
- Durable power of attorney for Health Care (also known as a Health Care Proxy)
- Power of Attorney for Finances
- Contact information for care recipient’s lawyer
- Contact information for relatives and close friends
The Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources Service Area 13 partners’ network likes this list a lot; in fact, the FEELING SAFE – BEING SAFE training workshop offered by the Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Service Area partners’ networks includes the same information in the planning process.
If you would like information about FEELING SAFE – BEING SAFE, contact the Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Service Area coordinator. Call or text: 717.380.9714. Email: email@example.com.
First Healthcare Compliance LLC provided this important information (the infographic below and an upcoming webinar).
“This September 19 webinar will cover essential concepts pertaining to the disaster management continuum including preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. The presentation will focus on the necessity of ‘All Hazards Planning’ and utilization of a trusted emergency management model known as the Incident Command System (ICS) as it pertains to health care facilities. The program will also include a brief overview of new CMS conditions of participation regarding emergency preparedness.”
FREE FEMA online training: “IS-100.HCB: Introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS 100) for Healthcare/Hospitals”
A really comprehensive list of FREE FEMA online courses for everyone.
By now you’ve seen this image from the flooding in Texas.
The Galveston County Daily News article is here: “18 people rescued from flooded assisted living facility.”
You’ve also heard the phrase: Prepare for those events that are “never gonna’ happen.”
Flooding can happen along any body of water. “Flooding is the most frequent and damaging natural disaster that occurs throughout the Commonwealth. Many of Pennsylvania’s communities are located along waterways,” according to Pennsylvania’s Hazard Vulnerability Analysis.
Hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding can happen almost anywhere – but especially along the southern coasts of the country.
Several months ago, we posted this article here: “Nursing homes and hospice providers face looming emergency preparedness deadline” – Modern Healthcare
“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers Final Rule to establish consistent emergency preparedness requirements for healthcare providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid, increase patient safety during emergencies, and establish a more coordinated response to natural and human-caused disasters.
“This rule applies to 17 provider and supplier types as a condition of participation for CMS. The providers/suppliers are required to meet four core elements (with specific requirements adjusted based on the individual characteristics of each provider and supplier):
- Emergency plan — Develop an emergency plan based on a risk assessment and using an “all-hazards” approach, which will provide an integrated system for emergency planning that focuses on capacities and capabilities.
- Policies and procedures — Develop and implement policies and procedures based on the emergency plan and risk assessment that are reviewed and updated at least annually. For hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), and Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities, the policies and procedures must address the provision of subsistence needs, such as food, water and medical supplies, for staff and residents, whether they evacuate or shelter in place.
- Communication plan — Develop and maintain an emergency preparedness communication plan that complies with federal, state and local laws. Patient care must be coordinated within the facility, across healthcare providers, and with state and local public health departments and emergency management systems to protect patient health and safety in the event of a disaster.
- A training and testing program — Develop and maintain training and testing programs, including initial training in policies and procedures. Facility staff will have to demonstrate knowledge of emergency procedures and provide training at least annually. Facilities must conduct drills and exercises to test the emergency plan or participate in an actual incident that tests the plan.”
Click here to read the complete document: “CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule: Resources at Your Fingertips.”
Want more information about developing emergency preparedness planning postures for your facility or individual preparedness planning for persons you work with? Contact the Link coordinator. Call / text 717.380.9714 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Several months ago, this site asked for volunteers for an emergency sheltering exercise; yesterday the Keystone 6 exercise became reality.
Everyone of us needs to know about life’s uncertainties, and the best way to grapple with uncertainty is to have a plan and to practice the plan.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMAs) “Plan & Prepare Webpage – This section of the site provides information on how you can plan and prepare to protect your family, property, and community from natural and manmade disasters is a start.
There are other resources right here at the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources | Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Service Area Website.
- We offer a 2 hour emergency preparedness planning workshop for FREE. The workshop, FEELING SAFE – BEING SAFE, provides tips and resources to help anyone develop a personal plan for emergency situations.