If this year has taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen – wildfires, hurricanes, and even global pandemics. And the year is only half over. “Be prepared” is not just a motto for scouting. Knock on wood, your community or healthcare facility won’t need to evacuate suddenly, or to expand quickly to handle a surge in patients. But it never hurts to be prepared, to be ready to protect your residents and to make sure operations and care can return to normal as quickly as possible. In fact, Federal law requires that Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities have written plans and procedures to meet all potential emergencies.
If you haven’t been thinking about your community’s emergency preparation plan, let the events of this year be the nudge you needed to get started. And as you’re creating your plan, here are five helpful tips to make your plan more effective.
Disaster Planning Tips
- Data Backup: Start by assuming that every technology system in use in your facility is built on a database that stores important data, such as patient information and incident information. If you were to lose your system to a disaster, would you lose all your data history? Your answer should be no. All data for all your systems should be backed up regularly and stored safely offsite, to be ready for you should you need it.
- Data Restore: Just as important as backing up the data is restoring it. If faced with a hardware or system failure for any reason, can you restore and make use of your data again? It’s important to schedule periodic tests to be sure that backups have been done successfully, with no data corruption, that restored data is accessible, usable, and that you are able to restore the data and resume operations quickly.
- Hardware Backup: With your data safely secured, it’s important to have a plan for replacing your hardware quickly. whether it’s due to a normal hardware failure, or a flood or fire or other disaster. Be sure to have a source for the equipment that can ship quickly. In the midst of an emergency, you can’t be waiting weeks for back-ordered equipment. Be sure your plan includes a complete list of critical hardware to replace. And be sure that your systems, and your backed up system data, are compatible with your new replacement equipment.
- Peripherals: In addition to the system server, many systems have peripheral devices used by caregivers such as printers, phones, and monitor screens, as well as resident or patient devices, such as pendants and pull cords. When you’re recovering from an equipment failure, the biggest time investment will likely be inputting the settings for the peripherals, to reconnect them to the system. Strategize now about the best way to input or restore device settings as efficiently as possible, to get the system back to work. At the minimum, keep a hard copy of your plans and settings, and store it safely to be sure it’s available should it be necessary to rebuild your systems. Better yet, can the settings be backed up and restored like other data? Whatever you decide, don’t overlook this critical piece of your recovery plan.
- Temporary Solutions: Another consideration is having a stop-gap solution that you can swap into place in the short-term, while you wait for your systems to be restored to their normal functioning. Even in a crisis, your residents need to be equipped with an emergency call device. If you need to relocate your operations to another facility, or to expand temporarily into another location, a portable or stripped down system may be necessary to help you continue to provide care.
If this year has taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen.
How RCare can Help
RCare is a global provider of wireless nurse call and personal emergency response systems for the entire spectrum of eldercare and senior living. We’ve given a lot of thought to disaster preparation and recovery, because we know your call light system is critically important for the health and safety of your residents.
Rapid Deployment Kit – Portable Nurse Call System
Our Rapid Deployment Kit is a portable nurse call systems in a box, designed to be installed quickly, even outside of normal healthcare environments. It’s a temporary nurse call solution that has been employed nationwide by health systems to create temporary field hospitals to care for the surge of COVID patients. It’s quick to deploy, quick to take down, and easy to store. And it can help you be prepared in the event of an emergency. Learn more about RCare’s Rapid Deployment Kit.
Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Service for RCare’s Nurse Call Systems
RCare’s Data Backup and Disaster Recovery service minimizes disruption of service and recovery costs for our clients. It provides regular software backups, with data securely stored offsite. It also provides hardware protection, with a quick replacement of your RCare nurse call system hardware, no matter what the reason, with the replacement guaranteed to be compatible. System and device settings are also backed up, so that peripherals can be put back into use quickly and reliably. Learn more about RCare’s Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Program.
You can count on RCare every day to provide excellent, reliable nurse call capabilities for your community. And when the chips are down, you can count on RCare to help you provide the best possible care.