For the past few days, meteorologists have tracked the tropical storm now known as Hurricane Sandy. Following its track across the Bahamas and through Cuba, weather prognosticators forecast that her path will continue up the eastern seaboard. Long-term care facilities—on the coast and as far west as Ohio—need to prepare for any and all scenarios—from power outages to evacuation.
The warnings are out there. You cannot prepare too soon to initiate procedures to protect residents, staff and property. There are many things long-term care operators need to do. Open your manual: Are emergency supplies on hand? Are sufficient medications available? Are residents’ medical records safely backed up? If you have to evacuate, are copies of records and meds ready to be transported with residents? Coordinate with facilities that are receiving your evacuees if it becomes necessary. The list goes on….
What about staff? How will you ensure sufficient coverage when Sandy hits? Remember that staff also will be worried about protecting their families.
The HHS Office of Inspector General, in a report earlier this year, noted that there are still gaps in long-term care disaster plans. Hopefully, your organization has closed any gaps in its disaster plans. If not, address them immediately.
The staff of Long-Term Living will keep you in our thoughts as you weather the storm. Maybe this ill wind will change course.