Senate committee releases unfavorable report on nursing home emergency preparedness

Members of a prominent Senate committee on Friday released a scathing report on emergency preparedness in the nation’s nursing homes, accusing both operators and the federal government of failing residents during storms and other disasters.

Compiled by the Democratic members of the Senate Committee on Finance, the report — titled “Sheltering in Danger” — specifically looked at operators’ responses to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017; the latter storm claimed a dozen victims at a nursing home in Hollywood Hills, Fla. after a power outage sent inside temperatures soaring, according to Skilled Nursing News.

“This investigation cataloged a series of missteps, poor emergency planning, and faulty communication strategies that contributed to the misery and the preventable deaths of nursing home residents,” the senators wrote. “The investigation identified gaps in nursing home emergency preparedness and response, particularly when their vulnerable residents are sheltered-in-place.”

The New York Times first reported on the results of the senators’ investigation, with Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon telling the paper that “too many [operators] are not equipped to handle matters of basic safety in disasters.”

Wyden expanded on that idea in a statement issued along with the report.

“This is a failure of responsible governing from top to bottom. Federal rules must be more robust and clear, while communication and planning among state and local officials and nursing homes must be dramatically improved,” Wyden said in the statement. “Until changes are made, seniors in America’s nursing homes will continue to be at risk when disaster strikes.”

Read the full story at Skilled Nursing News.

Topics: Regulatory Compliance , Uncategorized