Because of nightmarish stories like this one, long term care providers are doing more to prepare for disasters, natural and man-made. An organization called Mather LifeWays Institute created a program called PREPARE to train long term care providers in preparing for disasters and public health emergencies. (Senior Journal)
To learn more about PREPARE, see the press release.
More than 60 percent of Hurricane Katrina victims were elderly, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. A report by the Government Accountability Office called Disaster Preparedness: Preliminary Observations on the Evacuation of Hospitals and Nursing Homes Due to Hurricanes (PDF) found that long term care facilities did not adequately prepare for a disaster like Hurricane Katrina. The report also found that long term care providers’ existing evacuation plans need to be improved.
As recently as May, the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging has been hearing testimony from people knowledgeable about what went wrong in the aftermath of Katrina and how to prevent similar problems during the next disaster.