Why Emergency Preparedness Plans for Pharmaceuticals Are Critical

Spring, while celebrated as a season of growth and renewal, is also a potentially treacherous season for violent weather. From severe thunderstorms that knock out power to late-season snow and ice storms to unsettled atmospheres that spawn destructive tornadoes, spring is full of surprises.

In fact, 2023 is shaping up as an active year for tornadoes,

as more than 300 have already been confirmed in the U.S. through early April, according to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Long-term care facilities, meeting the needs of residents with varying degrees and severities of health issues, need to be ready for anything all year long, but particularly during seasons known to trigger hazardous conditions. In fact, long-term care facilities designated as Medicare and Medicaid participating providers and suppliers that do not have a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan are not in compliance with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations that require one.

Federal regulations require that plan to address the health, safety, and security of a facility’s residents and staff in the event of an emergency, however, individual states may add more layers of requirements to those standards. As a long-term care pharmacy, we at UnitedRX understand the vital importance of medication availability, even in the event of an unforeseen emergency.

Those living with chronic health conditions could face severe health consequences should they miss doses of their medications, particularly those living with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes or high cholesterol — which is one of the biggest reasons why an emergency plan that includes pharmaceutical management is important for every long-term care facility to have in place.

For starters, it is recommended that long-term care facilities keep a stockpile of medications needed for patients that could last them between 5 and 14 days.

To do that, it is imperative that long-term care facilities keep an updated profile of each of its residents’ needs, specifically as it relates to pharmaceuticals. 

Another important factor to consider when preparing for the management of pharmaceuticals during an emergency is the strategic and secure placement of medical kits across a facility. Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes, and if the traditional storage area for pharmaceuticals is unavailable or even destroyed due to a natural disaster, it’s vital to have access to even a small supply of needed medications as a stopgap. 

Of course, the security of those emergency kits is critical. 

And if an evacuation is required, as we see quite often during hurricane and wildfire season or following a destructive weather event, it is important to have a plan to transport pharmaceutical stockpiles or specific pharmaceutical regimens for individual residents. Planning ahead can avoid costly health consequences for residents and it allows long-term care facility staff to focus on more pressing matters at the height of the emergency they’re navigating.

At UnitedRX, we deliver a hometown pharmacy experience to more than 400 clients across the country. Contact us to learn more about how our approach to treatment can meet the pharmacy needs of your long-term care facility.