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Nursing homes’ preparedness plans and capabilities

Hilary Eiring, MPH, Sarah C. Blake, MA, PhD Candidate, David H. Howard, PhD


Objectives: To assess nursing homes’ capabilities to evacuate or shelter-in-place during a disaster and to determine their actual preparedness-related capacity.
Design: A 27-question survey assessing disaster preparedness plans and capabilities in nursing homes. Respondents and nonresponders were compared based on characteristics from the Nursing Home Compare Web site using t tests for continuous variables and χ2 test for categorical variables. Probit regression was used to estimate the relationships between nursing home characteristics and dichotomous measures of preparedness.
Setting: Web and paper surveys of nursing home administrators.
Participants: Nursing home administrators in California, Florida, and Georgia.
Main outcome measures: Number of disaster drills, days supply of emergency food and water, evacuation transportation and destination.
Results: All facilities reported conducting at least one disaster drill per year. Only 55 percent of facilities used a template to develop their disaster plans and 74 percent of facilities reported that they discuss their disaster plans with local or state emergency management officials. Most facilities (81 percent) have generators. All but 19 (7 percent) of nursing homes are able to shelterin- place for 2 days or longer. Ambulance services are the most common form of transportation (76 percent). Most facilities (73 percent) plan to evacuate residents to nursing homes affiliated with their corporate group.
Discussion: Almost all respondents conducted disaster drills, discussed preparedness with local officials, and were able to shelter-in-place for at least 2 days. However, many facilities rely on resources that may not be available during a large disaster.


nursing homes, administrators, preparedness, capacity, evacuation

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