September 15, 2017
Urgent Need for Emergency Preparedness to Ensure the Safety of all Long-Term Care Consumers
The death of 8 nursing home residents in Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma is tragic and sad. As the events in Hollywood and North Miami Beach unfold, it is a reminder of the vulnerability of long-term care facility residents, and older adults needing care and services in their own homes. This situation provides a hard lesson about what it means to be prepared for an emergency, and the need to be vigilant about monitoring the adequacy of those plans.
We know that elders are particularly susceptible to dehydration and heat, and they are acutely vulnerable in times of disaster. As Florida officials investigate this terrible situation, we call on all communities to reassess their preparedness for, and ability to respond to, emergency situations. From the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to state and local officials, power and energy companies, and long-term care providers themselves, there is an urgent need to reassess standards and procedures for both prevention and response to emergencies.
Our staff will continue to stay in close contact with our network in impacted states, and follow the reports on investigations and recovery to identify best practices and lessons learned in order to improve the emergency preparedness process to ensure the safety of all long-term care consumers. For more information about emergency preparedness, visit our issue page.