Safety

Plan care for dialysis and other vulnerable patients stranded in a disaster

Healthcare Life Safety Compliance, May 27, 2021

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.

by A.J. Plunkett (aplunkett@decisionhealth.com)

Work with your regional healthcare coalition and Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify the number of dialysis and other vulnerable patients who might show up needing critical services if water and power become scarce during a disaster.

Be prepared to coordinate with other hospitals and dialysis centers to take those patients and work with regional officials to determine when water, oxygen, and backup power resources should be pre-positioned or diverted to appropriate locations.

Also consider having vendors pre-position construction supplies or repair personnel to help keep facilities up and running.

These are some of the lessons learned by hospital and regional healthcare organizations who found themselves battling several disasters at once when Winter Storm Uri brought subfreezing temperatures and near-zero windchills to much of Texas in February.

CMS and accreditation organizations require hospitals and other facilities to use an all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness. Healthcare organizations are encouraged to add unexpected hazards during their annual required training exercises, to test how well personnel and facilities can respond.

The Texas winter storm may not have met the definition of all-hazards, but it came close.

The cold weather’s impact on the state’s power equipment and usage left millions without electricity as the Texas grid operator launched prolonged rolling blackouts to protect the system overall. The prolonged lack of heat in buildings caused water in pipes to freeze and then burst, shutting down some water processing plants.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.

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