It is a sad reality that there has been an increase in the number of natural disasters in the last several years. With the powerful storm, Hurricane Irma, that just hit Florida, it is important to look at safety policies across all areas including homes, hospitals, and importantly, nursing homes.
There have been tragic reports of nursing home residents suffering from inadequate care following natural disasters, and therefore it is important to look at safety for nursing home residents both during and after a natural disaster in West Palm Beach. Contact an experienced injury attorney for assistance understanding how to move forward following a natural disaster.
Recent Tragedies Highlight Importance of Preparedness Plans
Recently, Hurricane Irma hit Florida causing massive damage, flooding and left hundreds of thousands of people without power. Unfortunately, this powerful storm claimed the lives of at least 34 Florida residents according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Division of Emergency Management.
Sadly, it is impossible to ignore the tragic events that unfolded at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, where nursing home residents were left without power for air conditioning and critical supplies in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which contributed to the untimely passing of nine nursing home residents.
According to statistics by the Florida Health Care Association, Florida has an estimated 73,000 residents who are currently under the care of a nursing home or other long-term healthcare facility. Accordingly, nursing homes across the state need to be prepared for natural disasters such as hurricanes.
Risks for Nursing Home Residents During a Natural Disaster
With one of the highest populations of nursing home residents in the nation, it is important that nursing homes across Florida take proactive measures to provide for their residents in the event of a natural disaster.
Those in nursing homes face particular challenges and often require substantial ongoing medical care. Not only do nursing homes need to be prepared to provide basic necessities during a natural disaster such as food and water, but nursing homes need to be prepared to provide critical medical support during and after a natural disaster. One risk facing nursing home residents is from the natural disaster itself. Nursing homes should take proactive steps to protect nursing home residents from broken glass, flying debris, and flooding.
Nursing homes also need to be prepared to provide residents with their medications and therapies during a natural disaster. This means that nursing homes should have a surplus of common medications such as insulin, and be prepared to provide continuing medical care during a natural disaster.
Loss of Power
A major risk facing nursing homes and nursing home residents is losing power. As preliminary reports indicate, the tragic events that unfolded in Hollywood Hills were caused by the nursing home losing power for an extended period of time. A loss in power can mean that a nursing home is unable to provide residents with air conditioning, or heat, as well as crucial medical services.
This tragic event highlights the need for nursing homes to review their emergency preparedness plans, as well as for families and individuals to work with their nursing home centers to ensure that nursing home residents are safe during a natural disaster.
Contact a West Palm Beach Nursing Home Injury Attorney Today
Nursing homes in Florida and across the country are required by federal law to have safety measures in place in the event of a natural disaster. However, recent events have shown that some institutions are wholly unprepared for natural disasters.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury following a natural disaster while under the care of a nursing home, contact a West Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyer to learn about your rights, and how a lawyer can help.