When natural disaster strikes, seniors and other vulnerable citizens may not get the considerations they need and deserve.
The news of deaths at a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida in the wake or Hurricane Irma are a tragic example of what can happen. Our hearts go out to all the victims and their loved ones.
Power outages that allow for overheated conditions, especially challenging for individuals who may have breathing difficulties or other health challenges, inability to use necessary medical equipment, lack of drinking water, medications and health assistance can quickly become catastrophic for elders or people with disabilties.
Seniors can also feel trapped during a disaster in ways that others might not. Seniors who have difficulty moving may not be able to seek avenues of safety that others can. They may also be cut off from normal routes of communication.
Vulnerabilities were recognized after Hurricane Katrina when some regulations were implemented due to finding that:
However, we are seldom really ready for such unexpected and overwhelming situations, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods.
While we cannot rewrite what has already occurred, we urge seniors and their loved ones to review emergency preparedness, and perhaps to visit sites like www.ready.gov/seniors which can help us start to think about ways we can try to be ready for future events.
Rosen & Spears is a plaintiff law firm which seeks to protect the rights of healthcare consumers and their loved ones through medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, financial abuse of seniors, and other types of claims. For more information, please contact us.