Over the past several days, I’ve watched the tragic events unfold in Japan as a result of the massive earthquake and resulting tsunami. The images-photos and videos, served as a stark reminder of the awesome power of nature. I was struck that a nation that has prided itself on earthquake preparedness seemed so helpless and defenseless against this devastation. Fortunately for me, my family members that are there are many hundreds of miles away from the affected area and are okay. However, as we all know, there are millions, including many elderly, that have been rocked by the events.
Give your skilled nursing or assisted living facility the disaster plan quiz
As a nursing home administrator, I’m reminded of the incredible responsibility we have to insure the safety and well being of every resident. Our skills and good planning are most critical when it comes to disaster preparedness. As you address disaster preparedness, ask yourself these questions:
- How often do you carefully examine your facility’s disaster plan? When was the last time an interdisciplinary team at your facility reviewed and potentially revised this plan?
- Do you consistently conduct disaster drills? If so, how do you and your management team evaluate the effectiveness of your staff’s performance? Do you share that evaluation with your staff?
- Are you confident that every staff member is well versed in the disaster plan?
- Do you convey the relevant portions of your disaster plan with your families and vendors?
The time for every healthcare facility to begin disaster planning is … NOW!
I know this sounds trite, but it’s true … the time to start disaster planning is now. As one of the partners in our firm likes to say, “failing to plan is planning to fail” and nowhere is that more relevant than with disaster planning. Below are some PDF files that will help those without a disaster plan to formulate one and for those who already have one (which I hope is ALL of you!) an opportunity to review/ensure yours is adequate.
- Emergency Preparedness Checklist – use this as a guide to ensure that some essential elements of your disaster plan are in place.
- Emergency Planning Checklist for Persons in Long Term Care Facilities & Long Term Care Ombudsman – this is a useful checklist for ensuring your plan addresses the needs of your residents, families and vendors. I like the checklist from the perspective of the Ombudsman, as they play a key role in overseeing the effectiveness of your facility plan.
- Emergency Planning Checklist for Persons Living At Home – I’ve included this document, which also covers those with medical needs living at home as well as caregivers, so that each of you can evaluate your own personal disaster plan for you and your family.
Let’s hope we never need a disaster plan … but if we do, why wouldn’t you want to be fully prepared? As I wrote this blog, it caused me to look at my own personal disaster plan which I plan to revise and share with my family. As we have all learned, nothing can really stop the formidable power of nature, but with some good planning, we can help to mitigate it’s fury.