Long-term Care Facilities and Directors Charged in Fire Evacuation Failure
- As you work to adhere to the emergency preparedness Conditions of Participation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), remember that, in the first line, it requires you to “comply with all applicable Federal, State, and local emergency preparedness requirements.” In this case, it was state requirements that were not adhered to, which allowed California’s Department of Social Services to take legal action.
- Having an emergency plan is not sufficient. In this case, the plan was left in the binder on a shelf, probably because the night staff (at least) had not been trained how to use it.
- Training matters. None of the four nursing staff on duty at one of the facilities had ever received training in building evacuation. As a result, they could not find the keys to the facility’s buses, nor could they find flashlights or batteries.
- Exercises matter. None of the four employees at one of the facilities had “participated in a fire drill involving evacuating all residents.”
- Leadership matters. In both facilities, administrators failed their residents and staff. One never showed. The other arrived and directed staff “to return the residents to their rooms” because he “did not want to cause issues or make trouble.”
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