Senate Report Calls for U.S. Nursing Homes to Create Improved Response to Natural Disasters
When a nursing home or long-term care facility becomes vulnerable to an emergency, such as a natural disaster, all hands need to be prepared for safe resident evacuation, tracking and management of patients, backing up to an effective power and communication system, medication holding and climate control, and a plan for sanitation methods to prevent the spread of deadly infections or illnesses. Unfortunately, both Hurricane Harvey and Irma showed the world that many U.S. nursing homes are not prepared after more than a dozen seniors residing in nursing homes were perished. Months beyond these disastrous response outcomes, ranking members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance have called for more oversight to prevent tragedies with better planning and regulation of facilities, prompted by the release of an 84-page report highlighting the causes and consequences of facility failures related natural disasters.
Although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) pushed out new nursing home and long-term care facility standards for natural disasters in 2017, lawmakers featured in this November 2018 report said that federal rules need to be “more robust and clear,” and “until changes are made, seniors in America’s nursing homes will continue to be at risk when disaster strikes.”