In light of the recent natural disasters, I realized that the subject matter of evacuation is not a topic touched on in my blogging tenure. For people living in the south who are more frequently affected by flooding and issues related to hurricanes, earthquakes, as well as those living in the west where fires are an annual threat, I would guess that asking about an evacuation plan when searching for a long-term care community/facility for an elderly loved one would be second nature (if not it should be!).
However, for those living in areas that have not, and most likely will not experience the magnitude of a weather related disaster that those in Florida or Houston have, questions related to a facilities evacuation plan should become a priority as well.
Some questions to ask when touring facilities
- What is their plan for evacuation in case of natural/other disaster? (ex: Power outages, tornadoes, flooding, blizzards)
- Is the plan written down? (ask for a copy)
- How often are they required by law to go over procedures and/or do practice drills with their staff? How often do they?
- How do they train new staff on evacuation procedures and what is their practice for ongoing staff training?
- Do they have backup generators?
- How many?
- How often are they checked?
- How are they maintained?
- If they were to be confined in the facility for several days (or more) without access to food and medical suppliers due to weather, how much food supplies and medication do they keep on hand to ensure they can properly care for their residents?
- Is the plan prioritized by resident frailty?
- Do they work with local hospitals and other facilities in case they would need to evacuate their residents?
- Where in the facility are copies of the plan kept?
- If you were to ask where the copies of the plan are to any of their staff, would they be able to quickly answer you and locate the plan?
- How do they communicate with/get information to family members about weather related events? (Group email/text, Facebook page, Twitter?)
No matter where in the country you live, there is always a chance that there could be some weather related issue that could impact the well-being of the elderly living in long-term care communities/facilities. A facilities disaster plan is key to the safety of their residents.