If you have a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you would be well – advised to find out the facility’s readiness for a power outage as we head into hurricane season.
After Hurricane Irma struck in 2017, twelve residents at the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills died in sweltering conditions when the power went out. In response to the tragedy, Florida made it a requirement for every nursing home and assisted living facility to have a permanent generator on site capable of keeping the temperature in the facility at or below 81 degrees for 4 days following a hurricane. Prior to this rule, facilities needed only enough backup power to keep medical equipment running.
The original deadline for full compliance was November 2018. But according to the Agency for Health Care Administration(AHCA) only 36% of the state’s nursing homes currently have permanent generators installed; 75% of the state’s assisted living facilities do. Many facilities, particularly the smaller ones, have had difficulties financing the generators, getting electriciians to install them, and getting the work inspected in a timely manner. Extensions have been granted to facilities that have not met the deadline, but only if the facility documents that it can get access to a temporary generator within 24 hours of an outage, and/or has an emergency evacuation plan.
You can check a facility’s hurricane readiness at the AHCA website here. Put in the name of the facility and that will bring up the facility’s data, including a summary of the facility’s emergency power plan.