After several nursing home residents were killed in Hurricane Katrina, it became clear that these facilities are often very unprepared for appropriate disaster responses. A 2006 study found large gaps in preparedness at nursing home facilities. A new report finds that although most nursing homes now meet federal requirements for emergency response preparedness, many nursing homes continue to experience gaps between the preparedness on paper and the actual ability to respond appropriately.
Under federal law, nursing homes certified under Medicare and Medicaid must have emergency plans, and employees must be provided with training to handle emergency and disaster situations. Back in 2006, the Office of Inspector General of the US Department of Health And Human Services published a report about the condition of residents of nursing homes that experienced hurricanes. The report found that the emergency plan at many of these nursing homes was lacking in some key provisions that are recommended by emergency response experts.
In response to that report, the federal administration issued checklists for emergency and disaster planning at nursing homes and health care facilities.
A new study focuses on whether things have changed since the 2006 report. The researchers at the US Department of Health And Human Services conducted random inspections of 20 nursing homes that were in the direct line of a number of natural disasters including wild fires, floods and hurricanes between 2007 and 2010.
The report found that there is much nursing home abuse lawyers have to be concerned about as far as emergency preparedness is concerned. Although most nursing homes meet federal requirements for the emergency preparedness, many of the same gaps in preparedness and response that were found in the 2006, continue to exist. The report found that many emergency plans did not have relevant information. These homes had unreliable transportation contracts, and were unable to collaborate with local emergency management. As a result, residents were frequently at risk.
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