A report found that nursing homes may not be prepared with the proper provisions to assist the elderly/disabled in the case of a disaster

Report finds nursing homes not prepared to protect patients with strategic emergency provision

Factoring assistance for the elderly and disabled into a business continuity plan is of the utmost importance for nursing homes and other private healthcare facilities. With both physical and mental hindrances potentially preventing them from protecting themselves should a natural disaster occur, these individuals must be considered a top priority.

Moreover, according to statistics reported in a recent article published by The Huffington Post, 40 percent of the citizens checked into nursing homes in the country are located in the 10 states most prone to severe weather incidents.

However, the article goes on to describe how many nursing homes in the United States have significant gaps in how to accommodate these at-risk individuals should they need to be quickly evacuated for any reason, similar to the lack of preparedness illustrated by nursing homes in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

"We identified many of the same gaps in nursing home preparedness and response," stated investigators from the Health and Human Services Department. "Emergency plans lacked relevant information. Nursing homes faced challenges with unreliable transportation contracts, lack of collaboration with local emergency management, and residents who developed health problems."

Understanding how catastrophic it can be not to have strategic action protocols to aid nursing home residents during a disaster, it would be wise for healthcare officials to partner with a certified disaster preparedness consulting firm.

These professionals can help facilitate relationships with local authorities for supplementary assistance during an evacuation and also help design a system to identify the special needs and medications required by patients should they need to be moved. Additionally, these consultants can negotiate the best price possible on a fully equipped hot site so that officials have a reliable alternative venue to care for patients.

Additional information on the best practices in such situations can also be obtained by sending representatives to attend the World Conference on Disaster Management on June 27, 2012 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Registration can be done here.