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Review and update LTC emergency plans with operational changes

August 9, 2012
by Stan Szpytek
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Long-term care providers around the nation have experienced the impact of challenging economic times. Many communities including skilled nursing homes, assisted living facilities and independent senior living properties have been forced to downsize elements of operations, resulting in the reassignment of personnel, redistribution of staff responsibilities, elimination of positions, closing of facilities and consolidation of other aspects of facilities management. Some of these changes may have occurred quickly while the operation was under a great deal of pressure to maintain quality of care while dealing with the reality of decreased census and revenue. When changes occur, it is essential to review and update your community’s emergency plans to help ensure that the changes have been incorporated into these essential documents.

Keeping emergency procedures and disaster preparedness/emergency management plans up to date is an essential element of your facility’s Life Safety compliance program. LTC communities of all types commonly develop and maintain comprehensive plans to address a variety of emergency situations ranging from routine power failures to disaster scenarios requiring complete facility evacuation. In some cases, these response protocols and associated documents are required by regulation while in others, facilities have developed comprehensive written contingencies including plans, policies and procedures designed to help control potential losses and minimize risk exposure.

It is not uncommon for surveyors to review these types of plans during the course of an assessment and find that information is out of date or not applicable due to significant changes that have occurred within the facility or parent corporation. These changes can include the following:

Operational Changes

  • Expansion
  • Downsizing
  • Consolidation
  • Merger

Facility Changes

  • Floor plan changes
  • New construction
  • Demolition
  • Remodeling
  • Temporary structures
  • Elimination of beds/facilities

Personnel Changes

  • New employees
  • Promotion
  • Demotion
  • Elimination of position
  • New assignment/position
  • Re-assignment to a new location within a campus or organization
  • Retirement
  • Departure from company/organization

Personnel Contact Information Changes

  • Phone numbers (home phone and cell)
  • Pager number
  • E-mail address
  • Home address

Community Resources Personnel Changes-Primary Contacts

  • Fire Department
  • Police/Law Enforcement
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • County Emergency Management Agency
  • Utility Companies-electric, gas, water, cable system, etc.
  • Contractors-construction, electrical, plumbing, board-up service, etc.

Community Resources Contact Information Changes

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Stan Szpytek

President, Fire and Life Safety, Inc.

Stan Szpytek

emallianceusa.com

Stan Szpytek is the president of consulting firm Fire and Life Safety, Inc., in Mesa, Arizona,...