5. Holes in the emergency plan exist even if the nursing home makes the decision not to evacuate residents. You’d think that remaining in place would be really easy, but what if the crisis involves the surrounding community? I’m thinking of Houston right after its most recent hurricane when parts of the city were without electricity for a period of time and some areas were affected by downed trees. Unfortunately, some nursing homes aren’t well prepared for these types of situations. The OIG found that of the 24 emergency plans reviewed, all of them did not have a plan for acquiring an adequate supply of potable water to care for residents for a minimum of seven days. Furthermore, 22 don’t have a plan for getting extra medical supplies and equipment to care for their residents for that week. Nineteen plans didn’t include generator fuel supplies while the same number hasn’t considered getting extra pharmacy stocks of common medications. And 17 of these nursing homes had not developed a plan to have the appropriate amounts and types of food available for that week-long period.
So what should you do if you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home? I’d suggest approaching the facility’s leadership – including the administrator and the director of nursing -- to talk about the facility's emergency plan. Encourage them to give a presentation on the plan to family members at a special meeting. And if you have concerns about the quality of the emergency plan at your loved one's nursing home, contact the ombudsman to express your worries.