Toledo, Ohio
Civil Litigation Attorneys

Toledo, Ohio Civil Litigation Attorneys

Is your loved one’s nursing home prepared for an emergency?

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2023 | Nursing Home Abuse

Here in Ohio, we’re used to dealing with brutal weather in the winter and sometimes beyond. However, those in nursing homes should never have to worry about what will happen to them if extreme weather — or any other kind of emergency – strikes.

Unfortunately, in the recent past, we’ve seen horrific stories of fragile nursing home residents who had to endure scorching or freezing conditions when the power went out in a storm. Vital equipment like respirators no longer functioned.

In some cases, elderly residents have been left outside in the cold. In one Louisiana case, hundreds of nursing home residents were left in a warehouse that flooded. Not all survived. Employees at a California facility fled as a wildfire approached, leaving residents to be rescued by others. While these are extreme cases, they show what can happen when nursing homes don’t have a solid emergency plan

States have stepped up their requirements for these facilities to have emergency plans. However, it’s still important to ask questions and get information about these plans if you’re looking for nursing home care for a loved one or already have a loved one in a residential care facility.

What should you ask about a facility’s emergency preparedness?

You have every right to ask for and receive information about a facility’s emergency preparedness plan. Here are just a few things to ask:

  • Do all staff members know the emergency procedures and do regular drills?
  • What backup equipment and procedures do they have if they lose electricity, heating or air conditioning?
  • Where will residents be moved if they can’t remain in the facility (and what if that hospital or facility can’t take them)?
  • How will residents be transported to an alternate location?
  • What local emergency services do they contact and under what circumstances?
  • How do loved ones check on residents if phone lines, WiFi and electricity aren’t working? (Even if you live nearby, conditions may prevent you from getting to your loved one.)

All residential care facilities should be able to give you a copy of their emergency and evacuation plans and the most current state emergency preparedness inspection findings for their facility.

If your loved one has suffered harm or worse because their care facility and staff weren’t adequately prepared for an emergency (weather-related or otherwise) or mishandled the situation, you have the right to seek justice and compensation. Getting legal guidance as soon as possible is your best first step.