Sandy highlights nursing home evacuation troubles
In Superstorm Sandy’s wake, health experts and regulators are warning that thousands of nursing homes nationwide are still ill-prepared for a natural disaster.
The late October storm was the latest in a string of disasters to reveal gaps in emergency planning, despite an industry-wide effort to improve preparedness in the years since Hurricane Katrina.
Even in New York City, where disaster readiness has been a way of life since 9/11, seaside nursing homes and assisted living centers struggled to evacuate 6,300 residents from their flooded or powerless buildings in the days after the storm.
Some changes could be in the works. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it expects to issue new disaster planning requirements for nursing homes this year, with an aim toward avoiding the types of problems seen in Sandy.