The safety and well-being of your patients, staff and community can be critical to survival
You never know where you’ll be when a disaster may strike. Recent flooding events in Northern California have shined a light on emergency evacuations. Many disasters allow no time for people to gather even the most basic necessities, which is why planning ahead is so essential. Disasters come in all sizes and shapes including fire or smoke, severe weather, loss of power, earthquake, explosion, bomb threats, armed individuals, gas leak, loss of heat, and loss of normal water supply. In crisis situations, we are all dependent on each other.
The recent Oroville Dam structural collapse created a hazardous situation for the downstream communities and the town of Oroville. Emergency evacuation was required, and it involved the immediate movement of 200,000 people. Forced evacuations put the spotlight on healthcare systems and the need to protect the elderly and vulnerable members of a community. Emergency management encompasses all disciplines in healthcare communities.
How hospital communities can work together in an emergency to save lives
In the case of a hurricane or tropical storm, your patients, staff and family member’s physical safety is your first concern, so it’s important for you to prepare an emergency plan, in advance. But even if your facility is not directly hit by a disaster, your neighborhood or community could be affected for several days or longer by power outages, blocked roads, and damage to grocery stores, gas stations, and other businesses.
Your healthcare will be a beacon of safety for your community. Is your facility prepared in case of a disaster? Is your neighbor prepared? Is your community prepared? Do you have a plan? What does it take to be prepared? What type of resources are available to you in YOUR community? These are all the questions you need to ask BEFORE an emergency strikes.
Happy Holidays! Meals for All’s positive changes this year are owed to our great customers and the supporters who really believe in our products. This year we hit the ground running by preparing for our year-long conference, webinar and association speaking schedule around the country. Jo Miller, our Vice President of Nutrition has established herself as one of the most knowledgeable professionals in the U.S. regarding Emergency Nutrition. While traveling, Lee Tincher, President of Meals for All, had time to write a feature article “Q&A Emergency Readiness”for the January edition of Edge magazine, and we shared copies of this informative piece at our events through out the year.
By Lee Tincher, MS, RDN
President, Meals for All, Inc.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finally released the long-expected final Rule for health care emergency preparedness. CMS wants to ensure that all healthcare providers and facilities have an emergency preparedness plan in place at all times. This new Rule has been in development from shortly after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Recent disasters from hurricanes in New York, New Jersey and Florida to flooding in North Carolina and Louisiana to wildfires in the west have forced the evacuation of many hospitals and health care facilities. These disasters put the health and safety of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries — and the public at large — at risk. “Situations like the recent flooding remind us in the event of an emergency, the first priority of health care providers and suppliers is to protect the health and safety of their patients,” said CMS Deputy Director and Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway, MD. “Preparation, planning and one comprehensive approach for emergency preparedness is key. One life lost is one too many.”
Meals for All Develops Vegetarian Emergency Preparedness Meals & Plan
Meals for All released their newest line of emergency preparedness meals and plan for vegetarians this month. Meals for All, launched in 2012, was developed by an RDN team as an innovative solution for emergency preparedness. The New Vegetarian product line meets nutritional needs for all typical therapeutic diets, including texture-modified—and even puree diets.
“We are thrilled to welcome the addition of a vegetarian choice into our emergency preparedness line of products,” said Lee Tincher, President, Meals for All, Inc. “The complete nutritional vegetarian requirements have been met and there are several tasty vegetarian choices we are very excited about.” she added. “Through this addition, we are looking forward to supplying our growing US customer base with another high-quality, emergency preparedness menu choice.”
How many people does your 2016 Emergency Preparedness Plan cover?
Hurricane Katrina put the spotlight on healthcare systems and the need to better protect the elderly and disabled members of a community. In crisis situations, we are all dependent on each other. People in food service are in a pivotal position to make a special contribution to the welfare of great numbers of people who find themselves in need during a crisis.
Emergency management is necessary in healthcare communities and encompasses all disciplines. Nothing is more important to emergency planning and response than the need for food, safe water and management. So, how do you prepare and how do you calculate your emergency food needs for a real disaster? There are all types of disasters. It is important to have a plan to address individual disaster needs. Disasters come in all sizes and shapes including fire or smoke, severe weather, loss of power, earthquake, explosion, bomb threats, armed individuals, gas leak, loss of heat, missing resident and loss of normal water supply.
Transition to a Shelf Stable Disaster Plan & Draw a Comprehensive Return on Investment
by Jo Miller, MPH, RDN
There are many benefits to transitioning from a traditional disaster plan to a shelf stable plan. In order to be shelf stable, perishable food must be treated by heat and/ or dried to destroy food-borne microorganisms that can cause illness or spoil food. Shelf stable foods can be safely stored at room temperature in a sealed container for a usefully long shelf life (i.e. 10 years). Drying is the world’s oldest and most common method of food preservation. Freeze-drying preserves freshness, color, and aroma, while being completely shelf-stable. And, the compact design of the packaging allows you to store more in less space.
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.