The vulnerability of nursing home residents became a national issue when 35 individuals at one facility perished during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Since the beginning of 2012, there have been 19 federal major disaster declarations alone. Whether it is the result of severe storms and flooding as we witnessed most recently in Minnesota and Florida or the wildfires in Colorado, people have had to evacuate their homes and sometimes their communities for their own safety. Many individuals and families have emergency response plans that they have developed to use as a resource during these difficult times. However, who plans for the family members living in assisted living facilities or nursing homes?

The expectation is that each facility has an emergency response plan, and they do. Federal regulations require that Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes have written emergency plans and provide their employees with emergency preparedness training. However, in a recent report issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, many of the nursing homes surveyed met the federal regulations for planning but were found to be deficient for inadequately training of their staff to respond to disasters.

Access full white paper.