September is recognized annually as National Preparedness Month and serves as an opportunity to review emergency plans and complete practice drills. Hospitals and long term care facilities have a unique responsibility in emergency preparedness. Of the 17 different types of health care providers and suppliers outlined in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services emergency preparedness rule, long term care facilities and hospitals have the requirement to maintain emergency and standby power systems. Additionally, long term care facilities are also required to track patients and on-duty staff during and after an emergency, whether they have sheltered in place or been evacuated to an alternative care site.
For long term care providers, LeadingAge offers members new resources on their Preparedness, Response and Recovery webpage, which includes information on dementia and caregiving in a disaster and ensuring accessibility in communications and services for persons with disabilities, as well as persons with limited English proficiency. Members will also find links to resources for disaster planning, response and recovery, including links to templates, training videos, guides, worksheets and checklists.
The South Dakota Department of Health also has a number of online hospital preparedness resources available. The “Resources and Tools” link found on the page includes a variety of helpful information and guides.
For emergency planning information, visit www.ready.gov.