Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Evacuating Nursing Homes and Hospitals

"Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. Some inpatient facilities, including hospitals and nursing homes, evacuated due to the hurricane. Some facilities evacuated before the storm, while others evacuated after the storm because they were unable to sustain operations."

During hurricane Katrina federal officials used the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) to help evacuate patients. It didn't work as well as hoped, so the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has begun to study what needs to be done to improve hospital and nursing home evacuation processes.

On February 16, 2006, the GAO provided congressional committees with a briefing entitled Disaster Preparedness: Observations on the Evacuation of Hospitals and Nursing Homes Due to Hurricanes. The briefing addressed the following questions:
  • Who has responsibility for deciding to evacuate hospitals and nursing homes?
  • What issues do administrators consider when deciding to evacuate hospitals and nursing homes?
  • What are the federal response capabilities to support the evacuations of hospitals and nursing homes?

Though the GAO's research and briefing used Florida hurricanes as a backdrop for addressing these questions, it seems clear that the answers are adaptable to other natural or manmade emergencies that may force hospital and nursing home administrators to consider evacuation.


Blogger Word Tosser said...

Working in a local nursing home (they like to be called Care Centers now) for 17+ years, I know how poorly the evacuation plans are. In those 17 years we only evacuated one time. And that was because something went wrong with the gas in the laundry. It was in January, so dealt with snow and ice. I would say the rating would have been a c+ at best for a short plan. All the other times we had inservces for (classes) them, it was talk thru of what we would do. Twice in that time we did a side to side of building evacuating. Meaning we moved the residents from one side to the other. Not moving those in bad shape. Never having the others involved in the run thru. Meaning fire, police and etc.
The one real one, the residents were moved across the street to the church. This was ok for a hour plan to check the building. But not a good one for a long range plan.
Just before I left, we had new Admin. and Director of Nursing. We did one of the talk thru... and then we walked to say where we would take the people. I asked them if they knew where the key was for the church. No one knew. I did, as I had been there forever. But what would have happen if it was a night I didn't work? After we had walked thru the building, saying where they would put the residents and et. I asked if that was all of it. The DoN said yes, we covered everything. I told her, well, we all just blew up. The building, the residents and us. She looked at me and told me that wasn't funny. I told her, she didn't send anyone outside to turn off the gas, and no it wasn't funny. So there needs to be guide lines. And the local officials need to be involved even if it is a dry run. And once every 17 years for a real one is not good enough.
Sorry for the length.

7:43 AM, February 22, 2006  

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