The weather is finally breaking and some parts of the country are already under packs of freshly fallen snow. While this may be a welcome sight for people who love winter weather, it can present a number of issues for healthcare facilities and long-term care properties looking to keep their residents safe and warm.

After a series of brutal autumn blizzards that pummeled the midwest, the rest of the country–especially the more snow-prone parts–are gearing up for a cold and snow-filled winter. It’s important that healthcare facilities be prepared for not only colder weather and storms but what to do when a major storm, even a blizzard, hits home.

Taking Care of Liabilities

In the event of a blizzard or other natural disaster, it’s also important that healthcare facilities make sure their liability insurance is up to date and as comprehensive as it needs to be in order to protect against risks and claims from residents and their families.

Residents may have a case on their hands if they feel they were not adequately cared for during a blizzard, including not receiving their medicine, regular attention, or were exposed to danger in some fashion during the storm. In this case, healthcare facilities need to work with their wholesale healthcare facilities insurance provider to keep their reputation, finances, and operation safe following a claim. Blizzards and storms add a higher level of stress for long-term care facilities because of the exposures that are present during and after the event takes place.

Prepping for Storms

Not every storm can be anticipated and the ones that everyone can see coming may intensify beyond their original projection. With this in mind, it’s important that every healthcare facility make plans in advance of potential issues that can affect the property, inventory, residents, and staff.

  • Evacuation: In every storm, there’s always one family, one building, or one business that waits until the last minute to evacuate and duck for cover. Unfortunately, for healthcare facilities, evacuation may not be a possible option as residents may need to stay hooked up to equipment and be close to medications. Facilities should get a jump on this by assessing all of the needs of their residents well in advance and see what is required to stay safe and comfortable during an emergency storm. From there, a facility should make sure to outline an evacuation plan featuring a specific blizzard checklist.
  • Handling Power: Losing electricity anywhere can be a disaster, especially when trying to stay warm. But when it comes to a nursing home, it can be even more treacherous as this can lead to a number of major problems. From running medical support devices to working elevators to lighting and refrigeration, there are many different things that can be hazardous to residents’ overall health. Backup generators should be installed throughout a facility to keep these issues from happening.
  • Supplies: Healthcare facilities should have a backup supply of items like food, water, medicine, first aid kits, medical machines, and blankets, especially facilities that regularly see snowstorms.
  • Preparation: Facilities should be sure to create a plan that outlines what to do in a major storm or blizzard. This should include where to take residents, what each staff member is in charge of, and how to keep care going steadily so no one misses out on the attention they need, including medication.

Having a plan should also include training for staff members in the event of a blizzard. Training should include the notes above as well as which emergency services to get a hold of, where emergency supplies are kept, and how to make sure that everyone is calm and cared for during the blizzard.

About Highland Risk Services

At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.