Long-term care institutions are subject to a variety of challenges and dangers. These include natural threats such as earthquakes, extreme weather such as wind, rain, snowstorms, floods, landslides, fires, volcanic eruptions, and pandemics such as Covid virus outbreaks. There are also artificial threats, such as toxic spills and the possibility of civil unrest and terrorism.

While each of these dangers is a concern in and of itself, they are frequently the source of additional problems such as long-term power and phone disruptions. Basic supplies and services such as food, medical supplies, and fuel may be disrupted in some circumstances due to the incident. Preparing for such calamities is crucial for safeguarding the safety and security of long-term care facility residents, employees, and visitors.

Residents, employees, and visitors should be safe and secure, and the care facility should have an emergency response plan in place. Residents who are cognitively disabled, physically disabled, hard of hearing, speech impaired should have procedures to ensure that they are sufficiently educated and notified as needed. This plan might be used for both internal and external situations.
 

How to Evaluate a Disaster Plan for a Long-Term Care Facility?

Inquire about the emergency plan as well as records of fire department safety inspections. Keep in mind that long-term care facilities must adhere to both federal and state regulations. Check with the state agency supervising long-term care facility licensure to learn how a facility ranks with state regulatory bodies. It's the Department of Social and Health Services in Washington state, for example.

Many long-term care facilities construct their plans using the federal government's emergency preparation checklist, ensuring that the approach is adapted to the institution's needs. The long-term care facility administrator usually heads these preparations. Still, they are joint activities, including professionals from all areas of the facility. In addition, the emergency plan is subjected to a thorough yearly assessment. The group also meets regularly to discuss current safety concerns.

Employees from the following sectors can contribute to nursing homes' emergency preparation plans:

 

  • Nursing sector
  • Education sector
  • Training sector
  • IT sector
  • Recreation sector
  • Environment sector
  • Food Service sector
  • Housekeeping sector
     

The top senior living long-term care facilities incorporate memberships in regional and local health care networks as part of their disaster preparedness programs. long-term care facilities must assess and change their plans at least once a year. They must also disclose their changes on an annual basis to the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services and, in most cases, state authorities.

 

What are the kinds of emergencies to plan for?

It is also customary for long-term care facilities to perform disaster preparation training exercises regularly. Staff can, for example, perform evacuation exercises for situations such as earthquakes and falling buildings and evaluate and approve the emergency preparation plan, which includes a thorough evaluation procedure.

Long-term care facility administrators prepare for crises, such as significant snowstorms that can make it difficult for staff members to get to the facility.

Here are some things you should ask the top senior living long-term care facility authorities about in-placed emergency plans: 

  • What is your emergency plan for Earthquakes?
  • What is your emergency plan for Fires?
  • What is your emergency plan for Snowstorms?
  • What is your emergency plan for Hurricanes?
  • What is your emergency plan for Pandemics?
  • What is your emergency plan for power outages?
  • What is your emergency plan for Collapsed Buildings?
  • What is your emergency plan for Cyber-attacks?
  • What is your emergency plan for Food or water supply problems?

The coronavirus pandemic represents a new and unexpected hazard to assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. Inquire about their pandemic staffing by asking these questions:

  • What are your General Pandemic Protocols?
  • How many caregivers are there for your loved one?
  • How many people work at night?
  • Because of the epidemic, several institutions are using temporary, transitional, or recently hired personnel. How equipped are these employees to carry out the emergency preparation plan?
  • How many people would need to help your loved one out of the building if they couldn't walk independently, and how many other residents are in a similar scenario?
     

What are the communication protocols in the case of a disaster? 

In the case of a disaster emergency, residents and family members should inquire about the Facility's communication protocols. Residents and their families must realize that long-term care facility personnel may only interact with a chosen representative due to health privacy concerns. So, especially in a crisis, work together as a family to gather the most up-to-date information about your loved one from the top senior living long-term care facility.

The long-term care facility may also provide general updates via larger communication channels such as social media or email. Please contact the Facility ahead of time to ensure that you are registered for their notifications. The COVID-19 epidemic in the United States and harsh weather disasters highlight the need to understand a long-term care facility's emergency disaster preparedness plan.

 

What are good questions to ask about the evacuation procedure?

  • What is the facility's plan for evacuation and sheltering in place in the event of an emergency?
  • What is the relationship between these plans and community resources and local, county, and state emergency management?
  • Are evacuation exercises held for both employees and residents?
  • Is there enough staff to carry out emergency plans throughout all shifts? For example, will the skeleton crew be able to put out a fire in the middle of the night?
  • What is the protocol for evacuating physically handicapped individuals swiftly and securely down the stairs if the institution is multi-level and elevators cannot be used?
  • How are residents going to be evacuated? Are the arrangements with transportation companies in place to transfer residents?
  • Where will the inhabitants be relocated? Are contracts in place with other institutions to offer displaced people interim housing?
  • Is it legal for family members to evacuate their loved ones on their own if they so desire? 
  • How would this decision affect a senior's stay in the institution and the fees connected with it?
  • How are seniors on life support or getting hospice care transported?
  • What protocol is in place to guarantee that no residents are misdirected or left behind if the building must be evacuated quickly?
  • During and after an evacuation, how will the residents be identified?
  • How are residents' medical records, medicines, and other medical equipment and supplies moved if the Facility is evacuated?