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A Nursing Home’s Responsibility During a Natural Disaster


With tornadoes and hurricanes that seem to cause more destruction every year, natural disasters put everyone’s lives at risk. This past fall was no exception. Storms and severe weather events devastated many areas of the country, leaving hundreds injured and dozens dead.

However, those most at risk in a natural disaster are often the poor, the disabled, and the elderly. In Florida, for example, a nursing home is being sued for the deaths of eight patients in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

While natural disasters cannot be prevented, there are measures that should be taken to help ensure better safety. A nursing home, of all places, should be extremely diligent in doing everything that can be done to protect the patients, and if someone is hurt or killed because an important step is missed, the home can be held liable.

In Indiana, we do not experience the full effects of a hurricane, but we have our own disasters to worry about. Ours can be anything from a tornado to a snowstorm. No matter the incident, the nursing home must be prepared to jump into action to do whatever is necessary to keep their patients safe.

Have a Safety Plan


Nursing homes should have multiple plans of action to take depending on the type of disaster that may occur. These plans should be well researched and even practiced to ensure efficiency in the case they might actually need to be put into action. Written details of these plans should be made readily available around the building, and every staff member at the home should know each and every plan backward and forward so that it will be second-nature to implement if the need arises.

Think Ahead


Thinking ahead goes beyond making a plan. One way to think ahead is to ensure that the building itself is safe enough to withstand the most threatening weather circumstances from tornadoes to floods. It is also important to think ahead in the hours before the event. If weather conditions look like they have the potential to get out of control, it might be wise to consider getting all of the patients into one space in case the storm becomes so dangerous that the people need to take shelter.

Accommodate Medical Needs


One thing that nursing home staff would need to keep in mind as opposed to many other companies in similar conditions is that many of the patients have medical needs that cannot be neglected no matter the circumstances. Many patients in a nursing home are on specific schedules of medicine and food, and in many cases, if these schedules are altered too much, the risks that may follow could be fatal. It is important that these facilities not only have plans for the patients as a whole, but that each patient has her own unique protocol so that no major health issues result because of disrupted routines.

Help from an Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Natural disasters are impossible to prevent, but that doesn’t mean that protocols shouldn’t be taken in order to limit the damages caused. It is a nursing home’s responsibility to protect each and every patient in these situations. If your loved one was injured or killed in one of these disasters because the nursing home did not exercise one of the above measures, you could be entitled to compensation for this pain. Call Hensley Legal Group today for a free consultation or contact us online.