Keeping Seniors Safe During Severe Weather
As many states have begun to ease restrictions surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, senior living facilities must continue to take the utmost precaution with their residents. This means that no matter what challenges arise, residents should be maintaining social distancing as much as possible.
Severe weather is an emergency situation that now requires a two-pronged approach—keeping residents safe both from the weather and from potentially contracting the coronavirus. As you prepare your senior living facility for severe weather, take a look at your emergency plan. Is it still accurate? Is the person who is designated as team leader still able to fulfill that function during the pandemic? Have you established emergency procedures that no longer apply in a time of social distancing? If you have a generator, flashlights, batteries or other items with which you intend to provide emergency power, make sure you properly disinfect them.
Before the storm hits, ensure your employee and resident emergency contact information is up to date. Keep an updated list of business partners and contacts for food and water; pharmaceutical, medical and equipment supplies; infection control-related supplies; and transportation. Examine all aspects of your emergency preparedness plans—especially sections on sheltering in place and evacuation. For the latter, you may need to find additional places where residents can shelter so they will remain safe from both the disease and weather.
Involve local authorities, such as your state’s public health department, licensing bureau, hospital (or other health care) networks, local emergency management agency, etc., in your planning. They may have additional ideas for how you can manage this unique situation. You should also communicate with the Red Cross to make sure you are examining all possibilities.
During the storm
Residents understandably will be anxious, and your job is to both reassure them and keep them safe. Organize your staff ahead of time to alleviate their concerns as much as possible. Make sure to:
- Manage feeding times so residents can maintain distance.
- Enhance your cleaning and disinfecting schedule.
- Set up additional hand-washing stations and provide hand sanitizer.
Severe weather is a challenge in and of itself for senior living facilities, and the need for social distancing and source control has made it even more difficult. But, with careful planning, you can maintain a safe environment for all your residents.
Need more information about staying safe when severe weather hits? Visit churchmutual.com/weather for preparedness guides, resources and more.
Have questions? Contact Risk Control Central today.
Call: (800) 554-2642 (Option 4) Ext. 5213