This week, guest blogger Cathy Jo Cress, author of Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, Third Edition and Care Managers: Working with the Aging Family writes that,
Hurricane Beryl hit the east coast in May. More are expected on the Gulf and Atlantic coast this year, including Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, and Joyce. Has your agency prepared? Recent disasters like hurricane Katrina in New Orleans have made it painfully clear that the elderly and disabled are at risk in an emergency.
Of course, the rest of the country has its share of disasters. For example, like me, you may be in a region where earthquakes can hit at any time. The mammoth tornadoes across the southern Mississippi valley last year show that disasters come in many forms. Hurricanes, terrorist attacks, and earthquakes may grab the headlines, but blizzards and floods can also obstruct the safe functioning of a professional geriatric care management agency.
Each disaster creates circumstances with specific and perhaps unique dangers and problems that require special attention. However, some general precautions will help you prepare for one of these events.
Professional geriatric care management agencies must foresee the worst to prevent injury and loss of life. The keyword is planning.
Various types of natural disasters are generally confined to particular regions. Hurricanes bedevil the southeastern and Gulf States; earthquakes are most likely to occur along the fault lines of the West Coast; tornadoes are more frequent in the Midwest. The regional nature of potential disasters enables a level of predictability in planning for them. Evacuation routes and shelter sites, for example, can be identified long before an actual hurricane threatens. The professional geriatric care management agency should identify which types of disasters are most likely to occur in its area, then use that information to set the agenda for emergency preparedness meetings.
For specific information about how you can prepare your agency, clients, their families, and caregivers, see Liz Barlow’s excellent chapter, “Preparing for Emergencies,” in the third edition of the Handbook of Geriatric Care Management. In Barlow’s chapter, you’ll learn the basics of emergency preparedness as well as specific information about planning for a home bound client disaster plan, a facility disaster plan, disaster website resources, and much more.