Long Term Care Risk Management: Emergency Preparedness

Long Term Care Risk Management Emergency PreparednessLong Term Care Risk Management: Emergency Preparedness

If an emergency such as a fire or earthquake were to hit your long term care facility, would you be prepared? Would your employees know where to go, who to contact, or how to best assist your elderly residents? There have been numerous stories over the years about devastating fires in nursing homes, and debates over sprinkler systems not being installed to protect residents should a fire occur. Of course accidents will happen, but having a solid emergency preparedness plan in place as part of your long term care risk management program can help prevent tragic losses.

Fires are not the only risk that long term facilities face. In January 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed new standards for emergency preparedness plans for long term care facilities, in response to natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and recent devastating floods. Long term care facilities will now be subject to the same requirements proposed for hospitals. These requirements are based on the principle of “all-hazards planning”.

Your long term care risk management program should focus on creating the capacity to handle a spectrum of emergencies, according to the CMS guidelines. This doesn’t mean that emergency planning should involve developing highly specific plans for every conceivable threat, just that hospitals and long term care facilities should develop specific policies and procedures to deal with any threat. These policies should include tracking the location of staff and patients, and ensuring that medical records are “secure and available” in an emergency.

As an administrator, you may be wondering where you can go to get help with emergency planning. Many industry associations have actually developed emergency preparedness tool kits to be used by long term care facilities. Government websites such as, the CDC’s emergency preparedness and response site, and FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute all offer free information and training modules for emergency facilities.

At DigniCARE, we understand how important the safety and well-being of your residents and staff are to you. We’ve integrated a risk management program based on a philosophy and belief system that when you engage and empower your caregivers and put the well-being of your residents first, everyone is actively involved in helping to mitigate risk and stem losses. This means going beyond focusing on the clinical aspects of Long Term Care Risk Management Programs to offering a look at the enterprise across various systems. Please contact us today for more information at (855) 883-6306.

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