Applied Sciences

In 200 words respond:

When are emergency operation plans used at an Assisted Living facility? Give some examples on what happens when not prepared. Research natural disaster Katrina as one example.

In two different paragraph with not less than 100 words give your personal opinion to  Elena Mears and Riva Inocencio

Riva Inocencio

Vulnerable Populations and Sheltering In Place

You would want to use a Shelter In Place (SIP) plan at an Assisted Living Facility in most cases in a state of emergency. This is because SIP is defined as “A protective action strategy taken to maintain resident care in the facility and to limit the movement of residents, staff and visitors in order to protect people and property from a hazard” (AHCA/NCAL). In the case of earthquakes, sandstorms, terrorism, or pandemics, it is safest for people to stay indoors. Keeping people inside of these facilities is much safe than the alternative – evacuation, because more often than not, people in these facilities need help doing daily functions – one, they would not survive on their own, and two, someone would have to come get them (putting even more people at risk of danger).

Imagine if, instead of sheltering in place during this COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes, rehab centers, or skilled nursing facilities sent their residents home to their prospective families? That would be a disaster. That would expose the most vulnerable population of coronavirus to coronavirus – that is more than just a liability, that would be inhumane. That is why assisted living facilities must have and Emergency Preparedness Guide in their policies and procedures and make sure their staff is prepared at any moment.

Something interesting: Jails are actually releasing inmates to the public due to coronavirus concerns. I think there is a lot to unpack there. In Pittsburgh, where I live, this has happened:

https://www.wtae.com/article/inmates-released-from-allegheny-county-jail-due-to-coronavirus-concerns/31953103#

American Health Care Association & National Center for Assisted Living. (AHCA/NCAL) Shelter In Place: Planning Resource Guid

Elena Mears

Failure to plan is planning to fail.   Healthcare facilities of all types and levels of care must maintain preparedness for a myriad of emergencies – fire, hurricanes, floods, tornados, earthquakes, and even active shooters.  Over 2.4 million American seniors live in special senior care facilities – 31,000 are assisted living (Hyer, 2013).   Every such facility should have a documented plan for how they will respond in the event of an emergency.  By most state’s laws, that emergency plan should be filed with and approved by local authorities.  Whether facility management elect to evacuate or shelter in place will depend on the circumstances.

Consider Hurricane Katrina, a category 5 tropical storm that hit the southern gulf region of the U.S. and devasted the city of New Orleans.   The violent storm and ill-designed levees left more than 80% of the city flooded for weeks (Wikipedia, 2020).  In this case, the decision by many senior facilities to shelter residents in place had deadly results.

Senior care residents have several unique needs that compromise their safety in an emergency.   First, many elderly have mobility issues and may use walkers or wheelchairs.  Additionally, those with mental deficiencies may panic, be unable to follow instructions,

or can’t comprehend what is happening.  These combine to make patient transport difficult if not impossible.  For example, in Texas, 23 residents of a nursing home died in a bus fire when trying to be evacuated from the area (Castro, et al., 2008).   A formal criterion is needed by which to decide whether to leave or stay in a dangerous situation.  “The facility should train all employees in emergency procedures when they begin to work in the facility, periodically review procedures with existing staff, and carryout unannounced staff drills using those procedures.  The facility should tailor its disaster plan to its geographic location and the types of residents it serves” (Allen, 2004).  When plans are not documented and practiced, neither staff nor residents know what to do at the height of the emergency and the result is often loss of life.

Second, when a site loses power, critical equipment may not function, and no lighting makes all operations difficult.  During the Katrina disaster, facilities that opted to shelter in place were left with no way to escape flood waters, no electricity, and eventually no food.   Clearly, assisted living organizations needed to foster stronger relationships with local emergency personnel as well as the resident’s family for evacuation to be a viable option.  Lacking that, sheltering in place left them vulnerable as well.  Hindsight is 20/20.   Many lessons have been learned since Katrina – hopefully.

References

Allen, J. E. (2004). Assisted Living Administration: The Knowledge Base, Second Edition: Vol.

2nd ed. Springer Publishing Company.

Brown, L. M., Christensen, J. J., Ialynytchev, A., Thomas, K. S., Frahm, K. A., & Hyer, K.

(2015). Experiences of assisted living facility staff in evacuating and sheltering residents

during hurricanes: Research and reviews research and reviews. Current Psychology

34(3), 506-514. doi:http://dx.doi.org.libauth.purdueglobal.edu/10.1007/s12144-015-

9361-7

Castro C, Persson D, Bergstrom N, & Cron S. (2008). Surviving the storms: emergency

preparedness in Texas nursing facilities and assisted living facilities. Journal of

Gerontological Nursing34(8), 9–16.  Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.

libauth.purdueglobal.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rzh&AN=105647698&site=eds-

live.

Hyer, K. (2013). For long-term care, readiness gaps abound. Health Progress (Saint Louis,

Mo.)94(6), 42–49.  Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.libauth.purdueglobal

.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mdc&AN=24308120&site=eds-live.

Hurricane Katrina. (2020, April 16). Retrieved April 16, 2020, retrieved from httpc://en.

wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina

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