Long Term Care
Emergency Preparedness

Mission: To support the institutional based facilities of the long term care continuum to understand the Incident Command System for Healthcare Facilities and the State’s "Policy on the Evacuation of Healthcare Facilities" principles and standards with a goal of having standardized evacuation planning within the long-term care industry.

In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita demonstrated how the elderly and disabled are often the most negatively affected by the consequences of a major disaster. The elderly population only accounted for 15% of the New Orleans population, but 70% of the deaths from Hurricane Katrina.

These storms highlighted the challenges of evacuating long term care facilities including:

  • Absence of evacuation plans
  • Transportation problems
  • Lack of alternate housing
  • Staff stress and shortages

Even facilities with solid plans were challenged by the loss of community infrastructure. Many struggled with the fact they would not receive outside support for the first 72 hours or longer. These disastrous storms highlighted the consequences of not integrating long term care facilities into emergency response system plans.

Acknowledging that a need existed for emergency planning and preparedness for healthcare organizations and LTCF's the Wisconsin Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program created an expert panel to address Long Term Care Facility Evacuation planning.

Panel participants included representatives from:

  • Long term care and assisted living facilities
  • Bureaus of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services and Division of Quality Assurance
  • Private consulting agency
  • Emergency management services
  • WI Public Health and Hospital Preparedness

The state expert panel had some recommendations for health care facilities in their evacuation planning process which included that all facilities in Wisconsin adopt a common and consistent policy and procedure for the evacuation and/or shelter in place of the facility. Changes to the policy should be minimal and should be reviewed with local response agencies prior to an evacuation. In June of 2006 the State of Wisconsin emergency planning officials developed and adopted the "Policy on Evacuation of Healthcare Facilities". .

It is the hopes of Dane County Emergency Officials that in adopting the "Policy on Evacuation of Healthcare Facilities", along with adequate training and additional planning, can reduce the negative effects of an emergency situation among the Long Term Care Facilities.

Please integrate the policy with any site specific changes into your current emergency plans. Your local response agencies are a great resource in assistance with review of plans. Please include them in the planning process.

Below are links to information and forms that maybe helpful in your emergency planning process.

Below are other government links relevant to emergency planning.

To receive additional information or support with your emergency planning efforts please contact David Janda at (608) 267-1591 or janda@countyofdane.com.