Sunday, September 04, 2005

Shocked and Still Thinking

Did everyone hear about the nursing home where 80 patients were found dead. From my perspective having worked in the medical field, I am completely shocked that this nursing home did not evacuate it's patients when the first order came. I wonder how many nursing homes did not have an active and acceptable emergency plan? I wonder how many in the United States do not have an emergency plan that does not include a way to evacuate their patients on the first order? How many have a shelter that their patients can be moved to easily? How many have enough supplies, food, water or a plan with local emergency groups or other nursing homes in the area with reciprocation?

It's a black mark on the medical community because, having come from a home health situation, I know that we always had a plan to contact, track and care for our patients even though they were in their homes.

However, I will tell you the reality: very few companies actually have a full rehearsal for these plans. I know we never did a "major disaster" though, being in this area, we have had tornadoes and have had to enact the emergency plan in a limited way, contacting patients and making sure they have supplies, oxygen, medicine while they wait for electricity or permanent removal to another home if there's is destroyed.

Still, the medical profession needs to look at their emergency plans and needs to look at what they tell their "outpatients" about preparing for emergencies.

I'm thinking now about what sort of efforts we need to take to ensure emergency preparedness is taken much more seriously by everyone; particularly individual citizens and medical personnel.

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