Hurricane season is upon us which means many hospice and palliative care providers are reviewing and updating their emergency preparedness plans. This year, with Covid-19 continuing to impact healthcare facilities across the country, emergency plans are being updated with new accommodations.
Adapting Your Emergency Plan to Covid 19
Most emergency preparedness plans can be adapted to meet the new challenges posed by Covid 19. By taking a little more time to prepare, and ensuring you have the equipment required to protect patients during the pandemic, hospices can reduce the risk of Covid-19 should a disaster occur.
Based in New Orleans, mumms knows the chaos inherent in evacuating during a national disaster. Following Hurricane Katrina, mumms set out to develop software, the AtRisk Registry, to work with hospices, palliative care facilities, hospitals, home health and other organizations caring for at-risk patients. The AtRisk Registry provides a single-source for updating locations and critical care information needed to assist vulnerable patients in disaster areas. This program was developed to benefit the community at large. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
As hospices update their emergency preparedness plan, consider these tips:
How to Prepare:
- Stay aware of Covid 19 including surrounding areas that may have surging cases and areas with fewer cases. Should you have to evacuate patients unexpectedly, this will help you determine the safest place for patients.
- Know what types of disasters may hit your area and the notifications that are associated with them.
- Work with your patients to determine how they will evacuate should a disaster occur. Help them to understand the larger impact of Covid 19 as a whole and work with them to help reduce their risk.
What to Add to Your Emergency Preparedness Kit
- Face coverings, such as masks or scarfs
- Hand Sanitizer
- Snacks and Water (it may be harder than normal to find open markets or gas stations)
- Cleaning and Disinfecting Supplies
Resources to Help:
- AtRisk Registry: WatchPoint AtRisk Registry is a cloud-based SaaS solution, developed to track the real-time status, location and medical needs of vulnerable or at-risk patients before and during every stage of a disaster. With this HIPAA-compliant system, medical care providers can communicate with emergency responders and government agencies through real-time comprehensive reports about local people that need priority assistance.
- American Red Cross: The American Red Cross has Covid 19 specific resources for preparing for disasters including tip sheets, checklists and up to date maps and guidance showing where Covid 19 is spreading.
- State and Local Hospice Organizations: Many local hospice organizations are hosting sessions geared towards updating hospice’s emergency plans. Contact your local organization to find out about resources that may be available.