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Georgia and U.S. Nursing Homes’ Emergency Preparedness Questioned

Posted on May 01, 2012

A new government report finds that nursing homes across the country will be unprepared if a natural disaster such as hurricane or tornado were to hit them. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released their report on April 16, 2012. The report found that many of the safety gaps that were present before Hurricane Katrina are still present and that nursing home residents may be at risk.

The report indicates that at first glance nursing home compliance with disaster preparedness appeared to be good. However, once investigators examined the plans and interviewed staff, serious concerns came to light. Some of the specific concerns mentioned in the report include: unreliable transportation, lack of coordination with local officials, lack of notification to nursing home resident relatives, insufficient means of providing food and water for residents, and lack of a system of keeping track of resident medications.

The report recommends that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid establish specific emergency planning and training requirements to their regulations. The Medicare Chief, Marilyn Tavenner, has issued a written statement agreeing with the recommendation but has not yet provided a timetable for compliance with the recommendation.

Nursing home residents are typically elderly and many have physical or mental limitations that make them dependent on their caregivers. If you have a loved one in a Georgia nursing home, then our Georgia nursing home injury lawyers urge you to talk to the nursing home about their disaster plans so that you can be confident in your loved one’s safety.

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