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Nursing home preparedness questioned by government investigators

While many people with relatives in Albany nursing homes may hope that their loved ones are safe even during a disaster, a new investigation indicates that many nursing homes are far from ready when it comes to an emergency. This nursing home negligence calls into question just how safe New York nursing homes are.

New York is one of the most disaster-prone states in the country and it is absolutely essential that nursing homes have well-thought-out and detailed emergency plans. If they do not, it is extremely likely that a resident could become injured or even die during a disaster. If a nursing home fails to provide safety and care for its residents, even in the middle of an emergency, it may be held liable for any injuries that result.

USA Today writes that a report by federal investigators recommends that Medicare and Medicaid change its requirements that a nursing home must have specific and actionable emergency planning steps with its disaster plan. Investigators discovered that some of the most common omissions from a disaster plan include:

  • How to ensure residents have a seven-day supply of water.
  • How to deal with a resident who becomes ill or dies during an evacuation.
  • How to identify residents during an evacuation.
  • How to keep track of individual residents' medications.
  • How to identify residents' specific medical needs.
  • How to feed or provide water for residents during an evacuation.
  • How to work with regional emergency services during a disaster.

While these just represent some of the problems that nursing homes across the country face, it is an indicator that many of the nursing homes in New York face equally dangerous situations when it comes to an emergency.

Source: USA Today, "Big gaps found in nursing homes' disaster plans," Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, 4/16/12

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