FEI's New White Paper Shares Expertise on Nursing Home Preparedness in Times of Crisis

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Having a plan in place during a disaster will help protect residents who rely on others for their daily well-being.

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It's not until something tragic happens that we think about prevention.

FEI Behavioral Health, a national crisis management, EAP and work-life company headquartered in Milwaukee, has developed an in-depth white paper on Nursing Home Emergency Preparedness.

Americans have experienced more than 19 federally declared disasters so far this year: snowstorms, severe flooding, tropical storms, wildfires and most recently, Hurricane Isaac. When natural disasters occur, citizens who rely on others for their daily well-being are in jeopardy. Those affected most—residents in assisted living centers, group homes, nursing homes or low-income senior housing—are at greater risk during times of evacuations.

The vulnerability of nursing home residents came to light in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina. Thirty-five senior citizens perished at one facility alone. Since that time, great strides have been taken to prevent unnecessary deaths, including federal mandates requiring Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes to have written emergency plans and provide employees with emergency preparedness training. While many met the requirements, there are gaps in training for employees working in those facilities.

FEI’s white paper, titled Caring in a Crisis: Nursing Home Emergency Preparedness, talks about the need to have an emergency preparedness plan which takes into consideration the following:

  •     Securing the facility
  •     Power supply
  •     Staffing capabilities
  •     Communication with families

In addition, the white paper offers tips on how to get a disaster plan started, including steps to take immediately to ensure your contacts are current. It also discusses the need to keep the plan current by participating in practice drills. “Schools, hospitals and other institutions are good at conducting routine fire drills, but rarely run through drills in the event of a natural disaster,” said Ted Uczen, president of FEI. “It’s not until something tragic happens that we think about prevention. With this white paper, we want to help these facilities become proactive rather than reactive.”

FEI has also written articles about managing social media during an emerging crisis, workplace violence, countering bullies, creating an effective crisis management plan and the benefits of a ‘free’ EAP.

For over 30 years FEI Behavioral Health has responded to hundreds of customer’s critical incidents and has provided crisis support following work-place violence, natural disasters, aviation accidents, and acts of terrorism. A leader in preparedness, response, and recovery associated with the human dimensions of disaster, FEI integrates behavioral health expertise, crisis management experience, and technology to offer specialized crisis management services to address the human aspects of crisis management. More information is available at http://www.feinet.com.

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Nicole Singer
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