Judy Morgan, MBA, RD
Health care facilities must meet the challenge of providing adequate care in the face of natural disasters or other emergency events. Disaster preparedness includes being ready to provide uninterrupted service in the face of a break in critical infrastructure. Health care providers should be aware of the potential difficulties older adults may experience as a result of a natural disaster, especially when evacuations and relocations occur.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing found older adults are more susceptible to illness, injury or even death during a disaster. Older adults often have visual and hearing deficits which make it more difficult for them to interpret their environments, provoking increased stress. The stress can exacerbate chronic illnesses and further precipitate delirium. Read more from the article in Long-Term Living Magazine: http://www.ltlmagazine.com/news-item/elderly-ltc-residents-suffer-cognitively-during-disasters.
Healthcare facilities are required by state and federal regulations to have written emergency and disaster preparedness plans and to adequately train staff in those procedures. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has been increasing their focus on these requirements for healthcare facilities and issuing subsequent deficiencies for facilities’ failure to adequately prepare for emergencies.
In 2014, 20% of the California skilled nursing facilities surveyed received a deficiency for F-518: Training Staff in Emergency Preparedness, which is up from 17% over the past three years. CDPH issued a deficiency in nearly 10% of surveys in 2014 for failing to have an adequate written emergency plan (F-517). Continue reading
Have you considered how much garbage is produced by a hospital or healthcare food service establishment on a daily basis? Health systems in the U.S. have been estimated to produce nearly 12,000 tons of waste each day. Packaging waste can account for as much as 30 percent of a healthcare facility’s foodservice waste.
Waste management is an area that is receiving a lot of attention as healthcare facilities are seeking new strategies to become more sustainable. Many facilities are working toward improvements to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Healthcare facilities can save in the category of supplies and packaging waste; disposable items that are thrown away, such as drink cups, grab-and-go containers and plastic ware.
Healthcare facilities serving a vulnerable population must be able to sustain themselves for several days independent of outside resources, regardless of whether the situation is an unanticipated emergency or a planned shutdown. Recently, a healthcare facility in CA was cited for an immediate jeopardy during a survey for potential for food borne illness related to mold in a walk-in refrigerator.
What meal service options are available when you can’t serve any of the food stored in the refrigerator? The regular written menus cannot be followed with no available perishable food to use. Replacement food must be brought in and an acceptable alternate cold storage solution must be identified and implemented. From the food service perspective, there can be no disruption and kitchen staff must be able to continue just as they would during an emergency.
So, what are your options for meal service, and how long will they take to implement? Continue reading