How Should Caregivers and Nursing Homes Prepare for Hurricanes?
The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season started on June 1st, and it’s essential that caregivers and nursing homes prepare adequately. Recent history has shown what can happen when a managed care facility isn’t ready for a hurricane. Caregivers and nursing homes can benefit from reviewing their emergency plans and looking for any areas that need to be improved. Here are some of the things that should be done to prepare for a hurricane.
Prepare Emergency Evacuation Plans
If a hurricane or powerful storm is headed for the area, the government may call for specific areas to be evacuated. It’s essential to have transportation and lodging arrangements prepared before an evacuation is ordered. It becomes tough to fill these needs once everyone knows a storm is on the way. Nursing homes should have an evacuation plan on record that has been approved by the state. If your family member receives care at home, make sure they have a ride out of likely evacuation zones and a place to stay while recovery efforts are underway.
Maintain an Adequate Supply of Medication
If a bad storm hits the area, it can affect a person’s ability to get their prescription refilled. For example, pharmacies and other stores may not open for a few days after a hurricane. Similarly, your family member’s doctor may not be immediately available. Keeping a supply of medication on hand ensures your family member won’t miss a dose during the chaos of post-storm recovery. For help securing medication after a disaster, the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program “helps people in a federally-identified disaster area who do not have health insurance get the prescription drugs, vaccinations, medical supplies, and equipment that they need.”
Assemble a Traditional Emergency Preparedness Kit
It’s vital for everyone to have a traditional emergency preparedness kit in their home if they plan to shelter in place. These kits contain several gallons of water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, an emergency radio, and a basic first aid kit. If you need help assembling a kit, here’s a link to some advice from the Red Cross. Having these items ensures that the person will be okay if water and power aren’t immediately restored after a hurricane. If you don’t think your family member would be okay without power for a couple of days, then you should evacuate, whether there is a mandatory evacuation or not.
Setup Contact Protocols for Family Members
Following a disaster, it’s essential for family members to stay in contact with older relatives. A storm may disrupt communication channels, so you can’t assume that phone lines will be working. Agree on, and practice methods for contacting each other in an emergency in the event phones can’t be used. For example, you can send messages through online services if you still have internet access on the computer or phone. And if you can’t call, you should establish when you would come to check on them. For families with members in managed care, make sure to know where residents will be taken in the event of an evacuation and how you will be able to contact them.
Protecting older adults during a storm requires planning and preparation. If caregivers and nursing homes wait until the last minute, it significantly increases the risk of adverse outcomes. If you think a nursing home is providing inadequate care, whether it’s during an emergency or not, the Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. can help. Our team has been fighting elder abuse on the first coast for more than 25 years, and we can help your family member get the care or compensation they deserve. Send us a message online to schedule a free consultation.