The minority staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance released an unfavorable nursing home report last week titled, “Sheltering in Danger.” The report is an account of the way in which nursing home residents were put at risk during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017 due to poor emergency planning.
Senators claimed the unpreparedness of nursing home facilities resulting in the deaths of 12 seniors at one Florida facility were not accidents, but preventable. Sen. Ron Wyden of issued an 84-page report detailing what went wrong, finding that transportation arrangements were inconsistent with warning protocols and the decision to shelter-in-place created dangerous circumstances for residents.
In a statement Sen. Wyden said:
“My investigation found that in too many cases, nursing homes were ill-equipped to keep their residents comfortable and safe in the face of natural disasters, in some cases with fatal consequences.”
The report included some “lessons learned” outlining what to be aware of when faced with other emergencies:
- Temperature control
- Inadequate regulatory review allowed for non-functional emergency plans
- Greater preparation is needed when sheltering-in-place
- Current federal temperature control rules are outdated
- Threats to at-risk populations were not accounted for in power restoration priority
In the report are also some harrowing pictures of what conditions were like in nursing homes during the hurricanes.
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For the full report, click here.