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Hurricane Preparedness for Assisted Living Facilities

June 29, 2018

waves-hurricane-preparednessIn March, 2018, Governor Rick Scott implemented new regulations regarding hurricane preparedness for assisted living facilities in Florida. The new regulations require all facilities to have a backup generator and detailed Evacuation and Emergency Plan (EPP) in place. Governor Scott put the new rules in place after 12 residents at the Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation Center in Broward County perished from heat exposure following Hurricane Irma in September of last year. The residents’ deaths raised serious questions of whether emergency preparedness measures were adequate in senior care facilities throughout Florida.

After Hurricane Harvey struck Texas and Louisiana in 2017, stricter federal emergency planning requirements were put in place. However, because nursing homes and assisted living communities are primarily under state regulation, the newly-implemented federal guidelines were not sufficiently adopted by all senior care facilities in the U.S.

We feel it’s important for everyone to know that all Grand Oaks assisted living communities in Palm City, Jensen Beach, and Okeechobee, as well as all facilities managed by the Visiting Nurse Management Company, meet or exceed both state and federal EEP standards regarding emergency action plans and hurricane preparedness. All facilities have both a backup generator and detailed emergency plan that has been approved by each communities’ respective county. All necessary paperwork documenting each communities’ compliance with the new state regulations has been sent to the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration.

The VNA takes the health and safety of its home healthcare patients and assisted living residents very seriously. We understand the importance of hurricane preparedness for assisted living facilities and have implemented the following safety measures in our Grand Oaks communities, in addition to an emergency backup generator and EEP:

• Solid, CBS construction
• 100% hurricane-proof impact windows
• Emergency call systems in each room

Having an EEP in place during a disaster or power outage is key to maintaining the health and safety of our residents. If you or a loved one resides in an assisted living community, be sure to ask if they have an EEP and a backup generator in the event electrical power is lost. It’s also important that the facility is compliant with Governor Scott’s new safety regulations, like all Grand Oaks communities.

For more information about home health care or assisted living by the VNA, call 1.800.518.1312 or visit us online at www.vnaflorida.org

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