Two days before the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf Coast is preparing for the arrival of Isaac. The storm is currently a tropical storm, but is expected to become at least a Category 1 hurricane by tomorrow.
The outer bands of the storm are already affecting the panhandle of Florida, and is currently predicted to strike the Louisiana and Alabama shores sometime on Wednesday.
Long-term care facilities learned hard lessons about disaster preparedness after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brief. Data quoted in the brief indicated that the proper evacuation/transportation of elderly residents during the emergency and the management of chronic diseases later were particular issues after the 2005 storms.
“Any interruption in the continuity of services creates a grave situation where people are depending on assistance with their activities of daily living, hygiene, eating, meals-on-wheels, and medications,” Fran Brooks, CPM, PMP, the emergency operations and disaster preparedness officer for the Florida Department of Elder Affairs explained in the CDC brief.
Several organizations have provided thorough checklists and guides to help long-term care facilities prepare:
- CDC Guide: Identifying Vulnerable Older Adults and Legal Options for Increasing Their Protection During All-Hazards Emergencies (3.6MB)
- CDC Brief: Disaster Planning Goal: Protect Vulnerable Older Adults
- The Role of Long-Term Care Ombudsmen in Nursing Home Closures and Natural Disasters
- Florida Health Care Association’s Nursing Home Hurricane Planning Checklist and Plant Operations Hurricane Planning Checklist.
- Louisiana’s Nursing Home Model EP Plan