Disaster Readiness in A Senior Residence – Are They Really Prepared?
An elderly person can label just about anything that creates inconvenience or discomfort a disaster, so the word “disaster” in a nursing home or assisted living residence is a relative term.
However, the world being what it is, sooner or later there will be something that requires an evacuation or an emergency accommodation in any senior residence. When you’re looking for the right place for an elderly loved one, how a potential residence has prepared for a “disaster” is just as important as the other things on your checklist. Yet, disaster preparedness rarely appears on most facility assessment checklists.
FAST EMERGENCY EVACUATION
If there is a fire, tornado, earthquake or other emergency that happens without notice, what is the evacuation plan? Where will residents go if the weather is too bad to remain outdoors? If the facility is multi-story, how will residents who need help get down the stairs without an elevator? If the situation happens at night, how will the reduced staff move everyone quickly Ki Residences?
Assisted living residences usually have a more mobile population than nursing homes. If your senior has a specific mobility problem, how would the residence manage your loved one along with all of the other residents who will also need help?
PLANNED EMERGENCY EVACUATION
If there is time to plan, such as for an expected hurricane or extended loss of electrical power, how and to where will residents be relocated? What transportation resources has the residence identified? How will the facility insure that medications and medical charts do not become separated from the individual residents? What permanent identification will residents wear? How will families or responsible parties be notified? What is the assisted living or nursing home plan if many staff members are not at work because they are dealing with the same evacuation issues at home?
EVALUATING WHAT YOU HEAR
The facility administrators are usually the best people to answer your questions about emergency preparedness in an assisted living residence or a nursing home. Employees responsible for marketing are not often as well informed.
Once you have obtained all the information you can from the administrator, talk with two or three actual caregivers. Ask them what they have practiced for emergency evacuations. Compare their answers to what the administrator told you. If you can, try to ask someone who works the night shift, when there are far fewer caregivers in the building.
Be sure to ask these questions evaluate any senior care residence. If your loved one is already a long-term care resident, make sure you ask these questions as soon as you can. If there is a regular family meeting, bring these questions to the next one so everyone can hear the answers.