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Tip #1: Are your patients prepared?
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CMS wants to make certain home health agencies have adequately prepared patients and their caregivers for the possibility of evacuation or other possible changes in the delivery of care during or immediately after an emergency situation.
One of the ways agencies should do this is by providing patients two lists: a Medication List and a Special Equipment List. These lists are to be kept in the home and constantly updated so that each list is always current. This means it will be necessary to review and update the Medication List at each visit – a big change for most agencies.
Make certain patients and caregivers understand that these lists are to go with them to a shelter if an evacuation is needed.
The Medication List should include the medication, dose, frequency, route, time of day, and any special considerations for administration. The Special Equipment List will identify the equipment needs of the patient.
Note that lists should include the name and phone number of the patient’s physician and pharmacy, and the address of the pharmacy should also be included.
It is also important to include allergies and adverse events as well the name and contact information for the home health agency on these lists.
During the confusion of an emergency situation, this information could be vital to maintain continuity of care for the patient. HHS recommends that your agency create a form to be used to collect all the necessary information, so that nothing will be inadvertently omitted.
Be sure to document your discussions with patient and caregivers about the importance of these lists, with reminders that the lists should always travel with the patient if there is an evacuation.
Preparing homebound patients for the possibility of an emergency situation is an important step in your agency’s overall Emergency Preparedness Program.
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