“Who Is ‘Worthy?’ Deaf-Blind People Fear That Doctors Won’t Save Them from the Coronavirus” – The New Yorker
“Rebecca Alexander volunteered shortly after Governor Andrew Cuomo appealed for mental-health professionals to help counsel first responders traumatized by the covid-19 crisis. A New York psychotherapist, she has taken calls from a young nurse who had trouble sleeping because she was haunted by the sounds of dying patients gasping for breath. A doctor described getting instructed not to intubate anyone over eighty on the day his mother turned eighty-two. A pediatric nurse who specialized in infant diseases recounted her lack of training after being abruptly transferred to caring for adults in acute respiratory failure. Several confessed their own extreme distress at pushing the limits of their bodies physically and emotionally. ‘Constantly being on the front lines is taking a toll on them,’ she told me.
“What none of the people pouring out their problems to Alexander knew is that she is legally deaf and blind—and has her own deep fears about how the new coronavirus threatens the estimated 2.4 million Americans, and millions more across the globe, who, like her, rely on touch to communicate, navigate, and care for themselves. ‘When you don’t have vision or hearing or both, you rely heavily on other senses,’ she said. ‘For us, that other sense is touch.’ But touch is now the most prevalent means of spreading covid-19.
“How ready is your county for Covid-19? Check out STAT’s new preparedness tool” – STAT: Morning Rounds
“As U.S. cities slowly begin to take control of the Covid-19 pandemic and rural America braces for a wave of cases, some counties may be better prepared to deal with the outbreak than others. A new dashboard, produced in a STAT collaboration with the Center on Rural Innovation and Applied XL, offers a county-by-county look at how places like those in rural Vermont, New Hampshire, and parts of the Midwest may have the resources to tackle Covid-19.
“Other areas, such as those in the Deep South, may be at high risk of facing problems when handling the outbreak. The tool, and the trends it reveals, shows that Covid-19 may further exacerbate the urban-rural health divide that plagued the U.S. even before Covid-19 emerged and take a crushing toll on the already vulnerable populations in rural areas.
“The dashboard also points to the places at higher risk. Some are areas where concerns have already been raised — including segments of the Deep South, where some governors were slow to implement physical distancing measures, and sparsely populated expanses in Western states outside larger cities. Others, like the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which has suffered hospital closures, have received less attention.
“‘There are variations in terms of capacity and demographics in rural areas around the country, and those variations can have life-and-death implications in this pandemic,’ said Matt Dunne, the executive director for the Center on Rural Innovation, which was established in 2017 to identify ways to close the urban-rural opportunity gap.
The National EAS and WEA test will be held on the backup date of October 3, 2018, beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT. – FEMA
“The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS) on the backup date of October 3, 2018 due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence. The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.
“The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA.”
According to the current issue of The Voice, “On Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule impacting a wide range of Medicare providers that includes revisions to the new emergency preparedness regulations. According to a CMS press release, the proposed rule is part of the agency’s efforts to ‘relieve burden on healthcare providers by removing unnecessary, obsolete or excessively burdensome Medicare compliance requirements for healthcare facilities.’ The emergency preparedness requirements are targeted for rollback even though they were only implemented less than a year ago.
“A preliminary review by Consumer Voice shows that most changes involve a reduction in the frequency with which nursing homes must perform certain activities. For instance, the facility would only have to review and update its emergency preparedness plan, policies and procedures, communication plan, and training and testing program at least every two years instead of annually. In addition, after providing initial training, the facility would be required to provide emergency preparedness training at least every 2 years instead of every year.
“As the country watches the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence, Consumer Voice is concerned that the proposed revisions will make nursing homes less ready when disaster strikes and subject residents to greater danger. In addition, significant turnover rates among both staff and administration in nursing homes raise concerns about staff readiness if emergency preparedness training is extended to every two years.
“To read the proposed rules released for public inspection prior to their publication in the Federal Register, click here.”
Extreme weather and natural disasters can occur with little warning. This year’s floods and wildfires are proof of that. Are you ready to leave your home at a moment’s notice? You can reduce your anxiety about these scary events by making sure you are prepared if and when they happen.
September is National Preparedness Month and a good time to get your family, pets, and property ready. You can, for example:
- Organize your finances. When it comes to preparing for situations like weather emergencies, financial readiness is as important as a flashlight with fully charged batteries. Having your financial documents up-to-date, in one place, and portable can make a big difference at a tense time.
- Replace missing documents. If you’re missing important documents, now’s the time to replace them.
- Check your insurance. Find out if any of your home, health, or other insurance policies will pay for temporary shelter, replacement clothing, furniture, or other items if you are affected by extreme weather or a disaster.
- Prepare your home. From floods to fires, earthquakes, high winds and tornadoes, check out The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) How-To Series: Protect Your Home or Business. If you live where storms and flooding are likely, visit floodsmart.gov to learn about FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.
- Plan for your pets. If you’re like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. A little planning today can help ensure safety for your pets during an emergency.
- Sign up for alerts and warnings in your area. Public safety officials use timely and reliable systems to alert you and your family in the event of severe weather and disasters.
Bookmark this site. If a weather event or disaster affects you, come back for tips on recovery and information about your rights.
SOURCE: Federal Trade Commission Consumer Division
“Despair and anxiety: Puerto Rico’s ‘living emergency’ as a mental health crisis unfolds” – The Guardian
“Shaina kisses her son Keydiel, five, in the yard of the school he attends in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico.” Photograph: Angel Valentin for the Guardian
by Amanda Holpuch
“For the first 36 hours after Hurricane Maria, five-year-old Keydiel and his mother Shaina were trapped by the toppled trees that blocked the doors to their home in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico.
“Eventually, neighbors cleared the sturdy tamarind trees, cutting by hand because there was no electricity. The mother and son emerged to find an island devoured by 155mph winds and harsh rains.
“Their immediate concerns were physical – finding food and water – but bubbling below were anxieties and trauma that would endure for months.”
“Almost half of Americans would be unable to acquire US $400 for an emergency without borrowing or using a credit card. That’s just one reason why the U.S. is woefully underprepared to cope after natural disasters, says Morten Wendelbo at Texas A&M University, as he breaks down some of the nation’s major vulnerabilities when it comes to devastating weather events.”
“During the 2017 disaster season, three severe hurricanes devastated large parts of the U.S.
“The quick succession of major disasters made it obvious that such large-scale emergencies can be a strain, even in one of the world’s richest countries.
“As a complex emergency researcher, I investigate why some countries can better withstand and respond to disasters. The factors are many and diverse, but three major ones stand out because they are within the grasp of the federal and local governments: where and how cities grow; how easily households can access critical services during disaster; and the reliability of the supply chains for critical goods.
“For all three of these factors, the U.S. is heading in the wrong direction. In many ways, Americans are becoming more vulnerable by the day.”
Read this article at The Conversation in its entirety, click here.
“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.”