Texas officials admit problems in resident evacuation plans during Rita

Share this article:

Another lesson from this hurricane season: Better plans are needed to ensure the safety of elderly nursing home residents during a disaster and evacuation.

At least two-thirds of the documented deaths in one Texas coastal county amid Hurricane Rita's carnage involved elderly residents of nursing homes. These deaths do not even include the much-publicized bus fire deaths.

"Rita underscored that we have some holes in hurricane preparedness," said Diane Persson, an expert on aging at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. "It showed, for instance, it isn't realistic to put a lot of frail seniors on buses and haul them around."

In an effort to improve preparedness and safety for nursing home residents, several experts on aging and a consortium of providers are preparing a report for county, state and national officials.

While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requires nursing homes to have disaster plans that include education of employees, unannounced drills and evacuation plans, no medical component has been established to determine whether certain residents might be better off staying because they night not survive if moved.

Share this article:

More in News

Long-term care continues to lead in deal volume and value: PwC report

Long-term care continues to lead in deal volume ...

Long-term care bucked healthcare industry trends with strong merger and acquisition activity in the second quarter of 2014, according to newly released data from professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Empowering nurse practitioners could reduce hospitalizations from SNFs, study finds

Granting more authority to nurse practitioners is associated with reduced hospitalization of skilled nursing facility residents, according to recently published findings.

Pioneer ACO drops out of program, despite reductions in skilled nursing utilization

A California healthcare system has become the latest dropout from the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization program, despite reducing skilled nursing facility utilization and improving its readmission rates. Sharp HealthCare announced its decision in a quarterly financial statement released Tuesday.