Emergency Preparedness for Florida Nursing Homes

In light of the recent natural disasters in Florida and in Texas, it is important for everyone to examine their own personal emergency preparedness plan in the event of a natural disaster.

However, it is also important for nursing homes who participate in Medicare and Medicaid to have concrete plans in place that protect residents in the event of a natural disaster.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized rules for healthcare providers who participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs regarding a nursing homes emergency preparedness in the event of a natural disaster in West Palm Beach. Contact an experienced injury attorney today if you or a loved one have suffered following a natural disaster.

Nursing Home Emergency Plans

An emergency plan details what a nursing home should do in the event of an emergency. This entails having a list of all names of personnel along with contact information.

In the event of an emergency, an emergency plan will detail what the staff should do, and in the event that emergency rescue personnel become involved, it should provide a clear and organized view of the facility and who is inside of the building. In addition, an emergency plan will detail specific information about the individual characteristics and individualized needs of all of the individuals in a care facility.

Emergency plans should also provide clear guidance to staff and outside rescue workers identifying hazards and how to resolve them.

In light of recent natural and man-made disasters across the country, it is essential that a nursing home or long-term care facility have emergency plans in place to ensure the safety and continued care of their residents in the event of a natural disaster.

Planning for Natural Disasters with In-Shelter Care

Evacuating those in a West Palm Beach nursing home is not an easy task and in many cases may be dangerous for a person’s individual health. Therefore, nursing homes should have a developed shelter-in-place plan, which requires nursing homes to assess their facilities to determine whether the facility is strong enough to withstand strong winds.

In addition, having an effective in-shelter care plan also entails taking affirmative steps to secure a building against damage. For example, this may mean securing windows with plywood as well as placing sandbags to curtail flooding.

Also, having a well-developed shelter-in-place plan means ensuring that a facility has sufficient supplies to care for residents for at least 7 days following a natural disaster including:

  • Ensuring there are backup generators
  • Ensuring there is an adequate supply of drinkable water
  • Ensuring there is sufficient food
  • Extra pharmacy stock of common medications
  • Extra supplies and equipment

Nursing Home Liability During Disasters

Nursing homes provide care and treatment to some of the most vulnerable members of the community and often are responsible for taking care of loved ones. This means that families place a lot of trust in nursing homes to ensure a loved one is taken care of, even in an emergency.

Under both Florida law and Federal regulations, nursing home residents are expected to be provided with a certain level of care, even in an emergency. This requires that a nursing home have emergency preparedness plans in place.

However, in the event that a nursing home does not have an emergency plan in place, or the plan is inadequate, it can lead to tragic consequences and loved ones may be injured or even die as a result.

Under Florida law, a nursing home resident or their family may file a civil lawsuit against a nursing home if a resident has suffered an injury. Residents and their families can file a suit based on negligence, which requires proof that a nursing home owed a duty to the resident, the nursing home breached this legal duty, as a result of this breach a resident was injured and suffered some damage.

Talk to West Palm Beach Nursing Home Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a nursing home following a natural disaster or while under the care of a nursing home, contact a West Palm Beach nursing home injury lawyer today.