When a storm hits your community

Bruce Baron
Bruce Baron

Right now there are more than 101 inches of snow in Boston. Whether it's a snow storm in New England or Minnesota, a tornado in Nebraska or a hurricane in the South, long-term care providers have experienced inclement weather.

Even if you've had a mild winter, your community, hospice or health system must be prepared.

Many healthcare providers believe they have a plan, but many have not properly tested the plan. When and if they do, they often find one of the major impediments to success is proper communications with staff, families and even patients or residents. 

This communications challenge has recently received much attention. To help providers, the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living developed an Emergency Preparedness Document that highlights the need for a communications plan. The plan can be downloaded via the link above. 

The plan highlights the need for: 

  • A knowledgeable team 
  • A current list of stakeholders with phone numbers (cell phones preferably so text messaging is an option) and email addresses 
  • Confidentiality with patient related information 
  • Use of proper communications channels 

At VoiceFriend, we endorse the AHCA/NCAL plan. We encourage the use of technology to quickly disseminate information to stakeholders including staff, families and patients or residents. Technology that enables healthcare providers to send immediate phone, text and email communications to the stakeholders should be a vital component of any emergency preparedness plan. 

The recent rash of blizzard conditions in various parts of the country has provided an opportunity to put communications plans and solutions to the test. Many communities, including Epoch Senior Living, turned to VoiceFriend a provider of messaging and productivity solutions for healthcare providers, to inform their stakeholders of vital information. 

  • Typical storm related notifications include:
  • Coverage for open nursing shifts
  • Appointment confirmations
  • The need for all staff to plan ahead and arrive early for their shift or appointments  Community Parking lot accessibility 
  • Resident or patient activities and meal availability 
  • Reassurances to families that residents and patients are safe and secure. 

Winter is the season when weather can most likely cause havoc with communities, hospice and agencies. Having a proper communications plan and automated messaging solution can be an invaluable resource. 

Bruce Baron is CEO of VoiceFriend. Contact VoiceFriend at 781-996-3123 or email us at sales@voicefriend.net. 

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