Report: Nursing Homes Unprepared for Disasters

WASHINGTON — Nursing homes are unprepared to protect patients in the case of a natural disaster, according to government investigators.

While nursing homes are required to have emergency plans, many often lack specific steps such as how to coordinate with first responders or notify relatives, the Huffington Post reports. The investigators’ report recommends that Medicare and Medicaid add specific emergency planning and training steps to the existing federal requirement that nursing homes have a disaster plan.

While 92% of the nation’s 16,000 nursing homes met federal regulations, in an inspection of 24 selected nursing homes, 23 did not describe how to handle a resident’s illness or death during an evacuation. Another 15 had no plans to identify patients’ specific medical needs during an emergency.

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