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Video: Active shooter armed intruder response and training for senior living communities

(Posted: 09/21/2017)

Preparation for all types of emergencies and potential disasters is a familiar activity for senior living communities. However, the one event that is more difficult for communities to fully prepare for is an active shooter event. Senior living communities know that they are not immune to this threat, yet most do not have plans or training to guide their responses to save lives should this occur.

In order to help address this serious risk the Willis Towers Watson Senior Living Practice, in partnership with Sorensen, Wilder and Associates, developed an employee training video–The Four Outs. The Four Outs – Get Out, Hide Out, Keep Out and Take Out, represent the critical action steps to take when faced with an armed intruder/active shooter situation.

You will find in the upper right corner of this page additional materials, such as sample policy and procedure guidelines. A readiness assessment/checklist and poster are also available for those who may need supplemental resources for a comprehensive plan and program.

Click here to view the video.

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Mandatory nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System to be conducted Sept. 27

(Posted: 09/21/2017)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a mandatory nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Sept. 27, 2017 at 2:20 pm EDT. The test will assess the readiness for distribution of the national level test message, as well as verify its delivery.

The EAS test is made available to radio, television, cable and direct broadcast satellite systems, and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test’s message will be similar to the regular monthly test message of the EAS with which the public is familiar, only inserting the word “national.” “This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test.”

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OSHA Investigation Finds Psychiatric Hospital Workers Remain Exposed to Serious Workplace Hazards

(Posted: 09/10/2017)

A Massachusetts behavioral health facility faces $207,690 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for violations found while conducting a follow-up inspection.

It is a harsh reminder of how critical a well-developed, well organized workplace violence prevention program is, and how much it must be trained on and practiced. 

Our Essentials of Aggression Management in Healthcare program helps meet one of OSHA’s most critical requirements…being trained to recognize and defuse aggressive behavior before it becomes violence.  And, ours is the only program written by healthcare professionals for healthcare professionals, and incorporating patient rights as part of the training curriculum.

Click here to continue reading. 

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Houston’s Hospitals Treat Storm Victims and Become Victims Themselves

(Posted: 08/28/2017)

Water poured into hospitals. Ambulances were caught up in roiling floodwaters. Medical transport helicopters were grounded by high winds. Houston’s world-renowned health care infrastructure found itself battered by Hurricane Harvey, struggling to treat storm victims while becoming a victim itself.

The coming days will inevitably bring more hazards for storm-damaged hospitals and nursing homes, and their patients and staff. The scenes of turmoil across Texas raised the specter of the extreme flooding following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when dozens of hospital and nursing home patients died, and doctors awaiting rescue at one stranded, powerless hospital became so desperate, they intentionally hastened the deaths of their patients.

The response to Harvey, now a tropical storm but still wreaking havoc over the state, promises answers to whether health officials learned lessons from the catastrophe of Katrina when it comes to the medically vulnerable — in particular whether they did enough to prepare for the disaster and to move patients out of its path.

“We’ve made significant investments,” Dr. Umair Shah, executive director of Harris County’s public health department, said in a telephone interview on Sunday. “The challenge is until it unfolds there’s so many moving pieces and it’s never the same as the situations you’ve previously encountered.”

Responders point to dozens of improvements, from better engineered structures to well-practiced cooperation, that are helping protect lives. Still, sometimes even the soundest plans have been foiled.

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When domestic violence doesn’t stay at home

(Posted: 08/19/2017)

A nurse is leaving the skilled nursing facility (SNF) where she is employed. She’s met in the parking lot by her angry husband who is facing the custody loss of his children in a divorce. He shoots his wife in front of her co-workers and residents.

At another SNF, an intoxicated boyfriend shows up and attacks his girlfriend, an employee, in the parking lot, accusing her of cheating on him with a co-worker.

I wish I could tell you that these are scenes from a fictitious television series, but they aren’t. These are real incidents that occurred at real long-term care facilities against real staff members. And these are just a few of the many incidents we are aware of.

Domestic violence is quickly becoming a major concern for healthcare professionals. More and more, abusive spouses/partners are showing up at the healthcare facility, knowing that access is easy, usually unrestricted and sometimes not monitored by video security. This ease of access combined with the element of surprise often gives them the upper hand. And these events are not only a threat to the target employee, they also place every employee and resident at risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every four women and one in 10 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. The Department of Labor reports that victims of domestic violence lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the United States, resulting in a $1.8 billion loss in productivity for employers. The CDC also reported that an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

Yet, 65 percent of companies don’t have a formal workplace domestic violence prevention policy, according to research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management(SHRM), and only 20 percent offer training on domestic violence.

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Evacuations During Emergencies May Put Older Adults at Greater Risk of Death Up to Six Months Later

(Posted: 08/08/2017)

Older adults in nursing homes and other post-acute and long-term care (PA/LTC) settings are at increased risk for harm from disasters such as hurricanes or floods because they are frailer, generally have more illnesses and disabilities, and rely on medications and supports such as oxygen. During Hurricane Katrina, for example, elders accounted for approximately one-half of all deaths directly related to the storm. A new study in the August issue of JAMDA suggests that, if nursing home residents are evacuated during an emergency, they have a higher risk of death up to 6 months afterwards.

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Prosecutor: Man shot Indiana doctor for denying wife opioids

(Posted: 08/01/2017)

A prosecutor says a northern Indiana man fatally shot a doctor because he would not prescribe opioid painkillers to the man's wife.

St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter identified the gunman Thursday as 48-year-old Michael Jarvis of Mishawaka.

Police say Jarvis fatally shot 56-year-old Dr. Todd Graham on Wednesday in a parking lot outside the St. Joseph Rehabilitation Institute in Mishawaka.

Cotter says Graham declined to prescribe highly addictive opioids to Jarvis' wife during an appointment Wednesday morning. He says Jarvis returned to the medical center about two hours later and shot Graham.

Cotter says Jarvis then drove to a friend's home about 3 miles (5 kilometers) away and fatally shot himself.

Cotter says Jarvis's wife wasn't aware of her husband's actions.

Source: WLFI

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Nursing home employees praised for saving nursing home residents during facility fire

(Posted: 07/06/2017)

Two skilled nursing employees were credited this week with rushing into "heavy smoke conditions" and pulling two occupants to safety, according to local reports.

The fire at Courville at Nashua was reported at 2 a.m. Sunday and contained to a second-floor room. One resident was taken to an area hospital for possible smoke inhalation, but he was expected to recover.

"They were two maintenance or housekeeping guys who were here on a special project. They just saw the smoke, ran into the room, got the residents, the gentlemen out of the room. It just worked perfectly," Courville Company President and CEO Luanne Rogers told television station WMUR. The 100-bed Courville at Nashua is part of Courville Communities.

Neither rescuer wished to be identified local officials said. More than half of the 90 residents were taken to a nearby Kindred facility while damaged parts of Nashua facility were under repairs.

Rogers credited preparation and dedicated staff for avoiding tragedy, telling the station that she had "the best staff on the planet." Fire officials also said automatic sprinklers contained the fire and that the cause was under investigation.

"The staff did everything they were supposed to do," Rogers told The Boston Herald. "It's one of the blessings of living in New Hampshire: If something happens, your peers step up. We had staff who heard about it and just came in and helped."

Source: McKnight's

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St. Clair County woman indicted for nursing home arson

(Posted: 06/26/2017)

A 49-year-old East St. Louis woman was indicted earlier this week for allegedly torching a Cahokia nursing home, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Donald Boyce said.

According to court documents, the Cahokia Nursing and Rehab Center caught fire May 31, 2016.

Prosecutors allege Lori Jones, an employee at the facility, set fire to the building. More than 100 elderly patients had to be evacuated and relocated as a result of the fire.

Prosecutors did not disclose a possible motive for setting the fire.
Jones was charged with one count of arson.

If convicted, Jones faces between 5 and 20 years in prison, followed by 3 years of probation, and a $250,000 fine.

Source: FOX 2 NOW

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Ohio SNF shooter disabled alarm, spoke with residents during incident, employees recount

(Posted: 06/20/2017)

The gunman in a shooting that left two Ohio nursing home employees and a police officer dead reportedly shot the facility's alarm system as he entered, leaving many employees unaware that he was in the building.

That's according to three nurse aides who spoke with a local newspaper last week. They're working to raise money to cover counseling sessions for employees of Pine Kirk Care Center in Kirkersville, OH.

“This is a nursing home, why does he have a gun?” nurse aide Mandi Moran recalled thinking as Thomas Hartless entered the facility on May 12.

Moran told the Newark Advocate she watched Hartless come down the hallway after shooting the alarm system, stopping it from alerting anyone that he had entered the locked facility.

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CMS releases advance guidance for emergency preparedness rule

(Posted: 06/07/2017)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has published an advanced copy of interpretive guidance for its final emergency preparedness rule for healthcare providers.

The rule, issued last September, applies to all healthcare facilities and will be implemented on Nov. 15. Long-term care providers will have to meet additional standards under the rule, such as having emergency and standby power systems. They must also create plans regarding missing residents that could be activated regardless of whether the facility has activated its full emergency plan.

In a memo posted Friday, CMS shared an advanced copy of a new Appendix Z for the State Operations Manual pertaining to emergency preparedness. The advanced copy will “vary slightly” from the final version, CMS said.

The agency had previously urged providers not to put off planning their emergency training exercises until the guidance was released, noting that waiting for the guidance “is not necessary nor is it advised.”

“The interpretive guidelines and survey procedures in this appendix have been developed to support the adoption of a standard all-hazards emergency preparedness program for all certified providers and suppliers while similarly including appropriate adjustments to address the unique differences of the other providers and suppliers and their patients,” the memo reads.

CMS also stressed that successful adoption of the new requirements will allow all types of healthcare providers “to better anticipate and plan for needs, rapidly respond as a facility, as well as integrate with local public health and emergency management agencies and healthcare coalitions' response activities and rapidly recover following the disaster.”

Source: McKnight's

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Gunman in Ohio nursing home shooting had violent record

(Posted: 05/16/2017)

Court records show the man authorities say gunned down an Ohio village police chief and two nursing home employees had a history of violence, including against the nurse who was among the slain.

The suspect, Thomas Hartless, 43, was found dead inside Pine Kirk Care Center.

Nurse Marlina Medrano, 46, nurse's aide Cindy Krantz, 48, and Kirkersville Police Chief Steven Eric Disario, 36, were killed in the Friday attack.

State and local authorities said Saturday the investigation was continuing and they had no new information to release on the deaths in the village of some 500 residents, roughly 25 miles east of Columbus.

Records show Medrano had obtained civil protection orders against Hartless. He was released from jail in April after his latest domestic violence case in March. He also served time for a 2009 abduction of another woman.

"I am afraid to be alone with him, that he will hurt me for good," Medrano wrote in her latest petition in May. The Columbus Dispatch reported that court officials said Friday that protection order was still in effect. Records show Medrano had reported injuries including a concussion and cuts requiring stitches.

The Dispatch reported that she had earlier told police he once showed her a hole he had dug and said he would put her in it if she didn't stay with him. She also told police Hartless "doesn't like police."

Hartless' neighbor, Connie Long, told reporters Medrano had taken shelter in Long's home March 6 after he attacked her. Long had posted a Facebook warning to the community that "a violent man" was loose after Hartless was released only weeks later.

Disario headed the Kirkersville Police Department for only about three weeks, Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp said. He was the father of six children, with a seventh on the way, the sheriff said.

Residents in the community added to a growing memorial outside the police department Friday night, CBS affiliate WBNS-TV in Columbus reports. Darlene Ruff told the station it was the least she could do.

"He gave his own life to protect everybody and now his kids don't get to see their dad again," she said. "I remember he had given candy to the kids and it was just so sweet because he was new you know so, this is just our gratitude to say thank you for protecting all of us."

Authorities say the gunman had taken two passers-by as hostages in a wooded area behind the nursing home. Disario, responding to a report of a man with a gun, said in his last radio communication that he had the man in sight. The hostages escaped unharmed, as did all 23 residents of the nursing home.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich ordered that all flags be flown at half-staff at all public buildings and grounds throughout Licking County and at the Ohio Statehouse through sunset May 16 to honor the lives lost in "senseless acts of violence" in Kirkersville.

Source: CBS News

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BREAKING | Police officer shot during active shooter situation in Ohio

(Posted: 05/12/2017)

A police officer has been shot during an active shooter situation in Licking County, just east of Columbus.
 
According to NBC4i, the shooter was reported at the 200 block of E. Main Street at the Pine Kirk Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkersville.
 
An officer was shot while responding to the active shooter situation. The officer's condition is unknown.
 
Police say the active shooter situation has been "neutralized," according to NBC4i, though law enforcement will not elaborate on details.
 
NBC4i is live on scene. Watch video courtesy of them in the player above.
 
The nearby elementary school has been placed on lockdown, NBC4i reports. According to the Newark Advocate, Southwest Licking Local School District students were on buses when the situation started. Those students were reportedly taken to Watkins Middle School. 
 
Medical helicopters were called to land at the National Trail Raceway. The Advocate also reports that U.S. 40 is closed in the area and is expected to remain closed for hours.
 
Click here to continue reading.

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CMS: Don't wait to plan emergency preparedness training exercises

(Posted: 03/29/2017)
Healthcare providers will be expected to meet the training and testing requirements included in the recent emergency preparedness final rule by its implementation date of Nov. 15, 2017, according to recently released guidance.
 
In a memo published Friday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services encouraged providers to plan “full-scale, community-based” training exercises sooner than later, in order to avoid being cited for non-compliance once the rule is in place. The agency said it had heard that some providers are holding out for the release of interpretive guidance, which “is not necessary nor is it advised.”
 
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CMS' new emergency preparedness rules

(Posted: 03/17/2017)

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and all other providers who are reimbursed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be required to comply with new emergency preparedness regulations by November 15, 2017. The rules, approved in late 2016, include far more than having an emergency plan written down and stored on a bookshelf.

Evaluating providers for compliance will become part of the survey process, and any non-compliance must be rectified like any other deficiency, noted the Oct. 28, 2016 CMS announcement.

These significant changes in emergency preparedness regulations for CMS-regulated healthcare facilities have been a long time in coming. The highlights of the new regulations can be broken down into four specific areas of compliance that includes the following:

  1. Development of an Emergency Plan based on a risk analysis assessment using an all-hazards approach
  2. Policies and procedures
  3. Communication plan
  4. Training and testing

For the purposes of this article, I will focus on these elements of the new regulations as they pertain to SNFs. For additional clarification, CMS has developed a comprehensive table that further explains the requirements for each of the 17 provider types affected by these regulations.

Click here to continue reading.

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Fourth person dies following fire at Baltimore assisted living facility

(Posted: 03/17/2017)
A fourth person has died following a fire last week at a Northwest Baltimore assisted living facility, city fire officials said Wednesday.
 
Baltimore fire officials said 13 people have died in fires in the city this year.
 
Two people were pronounced dead Friday after the one-alarm fire at the Kozy Kottage facility in the 2800 block of Lawina Road. A third person died Saturday, and the fourth died Tuesday, fire officials said.
 
Seven people were in the home at the time of the fire — six on the first floor and one on the second floor. Six were hospitalized and one declined treatment, fire officials said.
 
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
 
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Change One Habit to Change Everything

(Posted: 01/31/2017)

When a new C.E.O. took over a struggling aluminum company, he decided to focus on one surprising habit: worker safety.

Click here to view a short video that helps put "safety" in any type of organization into context.