What Surveyors Want in Your Disaster Plan
Emergency management is a hot topic in healthcare due to the grave implications when mishandled. Emergencies can happen at any time, without warning and differ from state to state and even city to city. Creating an emergency plan is not only important for providing continuous home health or hospice services when they're needed most, it's also a requirement for all accrediting bodies. After all, a comprehensive disaster plan could be the difference of life and death for someone.
Disaster planning is an integral part of any survey preparation process, and maintenance of the plan can be the difference of many deficiencies. The Joint Commission, for example, devotes an entire chapter of their Home Health Accreditation Program to properly preparing for a crisis. Still, many agencies have a hard time creating a plan that can stand the test of a natural or man-made disaster, until now. Emergency management doesn't have to be the black forest it always was when broken up into small, achievable steps:
Create a relevant plan for your agency
Agencies vary in many ways, from the characteristics of their patient populations to the possible capacity of their services, to the types of disasters in their areas. Given the vast differences between organizations, it's imperative that each company creates a plan based on their specific circumstances.
Prepare for care management complications
A community crisis brings about unexpected situations. The larger the home health the more they need to ensure that this part of their emergency planning is well done. Creating an organized system of when and how to provide treatment enables staff to focus coordination instead of prioritization activities, saving precious time when it's most needed.
Designate an alternate operations site
In the case that your office is not deemed safe to operate in, or if road conditions or other factors prevent a safe commute, preparing an alternate operations site in a different part of time can be the most important factor of effectively managing care in a crisis.
Educate your staff
Staff education is a key part of disaster management. Working together effectively requires that everyone knows what to do when normal operations are difficult or impossible. Staff education starts at hire and continues at least annually.
Anticipate debilitating challenges
The hardest challenge in an emergency situation is the inability to communicate when phone lines and internet are unavailable. Understanding how to communicate provides your team with essential building blocks towards ensuring the safety of your patients and your employees.
Construct a blueprint to return to normal operations
Dealing with the after effects of a major disaster is overwhelming. Staff, patients and the community often struggle to resume an operational norm only to run into the consequences of a disaster that can range from structural damages to emotional rehabilitation. Anticipating the aftermath can ensure a speedier recovery for all involved.
Practice and evaluate your plan
Practice makes perfect. Because it's impossible to predict the timing, form and scope of this type of event, home health agencies that practice and improve upon their plans stand to emerge with limited financial strain. Most importantly, a solid emergency plan can limit, reduce or completely eliminate injuries and even casualties.
Don't Gamble with Compliance
Home health care agencies are constantly threatened with unexpected surveys that can be disastrous when compliance isn't a key factor of the day to day operations. Ask how TT Medical makes it easy to stay compliant!