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Identify a long-term health care facility in South Florida(USA).
What type of disaster plan should this organization have in place?
What are three specific events that an HIM professional should prepare to prevent?
Think of the geographic location of your organization along with other geographic statistics that would impact the disaster plan’s design.
IN TWO DIFERENT PARAGRAPH GIVE YOUR PERSONAL OPINION TO Marla Stuck AND Morenike Adeoye
Healthcare organizations must plan for the multiple consequences of all disasters. These adverse events may be internal or external, natural, technical, or man-made. A disaster, such as an industrial accident, that requires the provision of emergency health services to large numbers of individuals may stretch a healthcare organization’s resources even when the facility is not physically affected. A large hospital facility needs to have a comprehensive disaster plan, and carry out periodic practice drills on a continual basis, so that all hospital staff have knowledge of the plan, know who would be in charge, and understand their own role within the overall plan. In spite of the best-laid disaster plan, and in spite of well-planned and organized drills, staff should expect that a true disaster will bring its own set of unexpected issues. Although patients’ well-being is important during a disaster, institutions also need to protect the technology supporting patient care. Hospitals should plan for more victims than they expect, and by collecting patient information when putting together a disaster plan for the HIM department.HIM departments should follow three steps to develop and maintain an emergency preparedness plan for information system disasters: gather information; formulate and test the plan; and plan maintenance. The most important function must be categorized and must not be interrupted. The first priority will be health records, documentation location of these electronic /paper files should be documented. Putting in place staff people that are responsible for retrieving and securing documentations. The administration can coordinate a plan to get the HIM information/equipment accessible so that the critical hospital functions are up and running again.
The American Medical Association has developed several disaster preparedness resources Retrieved from www.ama-assn.org/go/disasterpreparedness
ARMA International has developed several disaster recovery tools. Emergency Management for Records and Information Programs Retrieved from www.arma.org
Bumington-Brown J, Hughes G. Practice Brief: Disaster Planning for Health Information (updated). Available at: http://library.ahima.org/xpedio.
This nursing home has a poor star rating with multiple fire and safety citations. A disaster plan should provide the plan and processes necessary to ensure residents’ safety during a disaster, be it natural or human-made. Considering the number of safety citations, I do not know that this organization can survive a catastrophe.
Minimally they should have fire retardant systems, with sprinklers in at least every residents’ room—an evacuation plan to safely move the residents out of the facility if the disaster warranted. Staff with the capability to move beds, wheelchairs, or other necessary ADL devices safely out of the building in the event it is safer to leave than shelter in place.
Resident’s records are backed up to the cloud or an external server for electronic records, and those paper records would be stored in a fireproof, secure cabinet. In addition to the resident’s records, it would be essential to have an easy way to identify residents both by staff and those working in the field. Access to their health records information is yet another point the HIM professional should prepare for and implement.
Some disasters call for remaining in place and locking in. For instance, if there is a gunman, it may be better to lock in and find a secure location that they can “hide.” Cellphones available to call for police help would be necessary. Partnerships with police, fire, hospitals, and other emergency providers are also recommended for disaster planning.
This long-term care home is in mid-Michigan, tornados have their season and spring up quickly in Michigan. If the structure suffers large amounts of damage, a plan would have needed to be in place long before to move the residents to safety at another facility, or nearby hospital. The HIM professional is instrumental in leading this consortium for their care facility.
Disaster plans need to have necessary food and supplies to get residents through a specified period, usually a two-week amount. These can be canned items, meals ready to eat (MRE’s) that do not require kitchens to prepare, and in a disaster, one is not sure to have electricity or gas services.
Perhaps not often thought about, but also important is having the communication plan outlined. The “who” can give the public information and what information can be shared, and when it will be shared will be criticized easily by anyone if it misses a step. The HIM professional must have a plan on contacting family members of the resident, and this needs to be communicated with the family at the time of intake, as well as in public comments. Families need to know how their loved ones or emergency workers will spend their time assisting on-lookers, or worried family members versus helping the residents in need.
The HIM professional should have staff, supplies, and communication plans at the ready in case of disasters. They need to prevent unnecessary harm, lack of communication with families and emergency workers, and lack of necessary information to help in a disaster. FEMA provides guidelines that will assist in disaster planning. The best plan to avoid disasters during a disaster is a well-planned plan with open communication with area experts.
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