The Disaster Preparedness Levels Of Long Term Care Facilities

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Introduction Individuals living in Long Term Care facilities are among the most vulnerable of populations during a disaster. Many lessons have been learned from devastations like Hurricane Katrina, Rita, and Wilma that occurred in 2005 in regards to the disaster preparedness levels of Long Term Care Facilities (LTC). In 2006 The Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) found that while majority of Nursing Homes did meet federal regulations for emergency plans and training at the time, many plans lacked sufficient detail recommended by disaster preparedness experts and there was a big lack of collaboration with outside State and local emergency agencies in development of these plans. To mitigate these gaps under the recommendation of DHSS, CMS published a check list for LTC facilities that provided guidance for development of stronger emergency operation plans that met those higher standards. The check list incorporated requirements of the facilities to collaborate with not only outside state and local emergency agencies, but also with each other when it came to planning. DHHS also developed a website at to help facilities complete the tasks associated with the list. The site provides planning templates, examples of drills and exercises that could be used within the facility, and other disaster preparedness related information. Tools were also provided to state Ombudsmen and State Surveying agencies to make them familiar with the
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