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Emergency Preparedness for Homecare Providers: Hurricanes

With hurricane season taking hold for the Eastern and Southern seaboards, there is no doubt that fierce storms can strike fear into seniors and their caregivers. Hurricanes present a multitude of risks encompassing power outages, high winds, flooding, downed trees and loss of communication; all of which can be a major inconvenience and danger for even middle-aged individuals. However, seniors living alone at home can be at an even higher risk of injury or damage to their home in the face of a hurricane or tropical storm.

Many home care providers worry not only about their clients’ well being, but also how to manage their business and caregiver schedules in the midst of hurricanes. However, taking the proper steps to prepare and arming yourself with the power of a robust, cloud-based home care software or home care system, such as ClearCare, you can rest assured that you have the necessary tools to keep clients safe and business running smoothly in the midst of boarding up windows and strategically placing sand bags.

Communicate with Clients and Caregivers Early:
By definition, a hurricane has sustained winds above 73 miles an hour. Thus, tropical storm warnings are issued by the National Weather Service at least 48 hours before heavy winds and rain are expected to arrive; giving residents of the warning area ample time to react. As a home care provider, you can use this time to touch base with clients to see if anyone is in need of assistance with evacuation or preparation, as well as caregivers to check their availability to fill new shifts. While this task may sound daunting, with messaging features in a home care software or home care system, like ClearCare, communication with clients, their loved ones and caregivers can be managed and documented efficiently.

Prepare Caregivers in the Field:
If your agency has caregivers working in an area expecting tropical storm or hurricane conditions, ensure that the senior’s home is prepared for the oncoming weather and is safe for both the client and caregiver. If so, consider equipping caregivers with storm kits to keep with them – including flashlights, batteries, a portable radio, bottled water and some non-perishable snacks. Encourage caregivers to keep their cell phone with them ,and well charged in case landline communications go down. With a home care software or home care system, such as ClearCare, you can also integrate storm related tasks into the care plan for the storm period, asking caregivers to call and check in with updates on the conditions near the home – allowing you to easily keep track of your clients and caregivers in a storm’s path. If the home isn’t safe, or a hurricane is impending, caregivers can be an invaluable resource to provide transportation and assistance with evacuation.

Keep Family Members Updated:
Many seniors utilizing in-home care have family in other geographies that worry about their condition. To avoid constant calls to your office checking on the wellbeing of a loved one in a storm’s path, consider utilizing the family log-in features of a home care software, such as ClearCare, to allow loved ones to see real time care updates, and where caregivers can also log comments about evacuation or storm conditions in the area.

Manage Your Business – From Anywhere:
The reality of hurricanes is that they know no boundaries. Your office may end up severely damaged or without power and phone capabilities for a matter of hours or days – leaving you concerned about managing business functions. However, ClearCare is a cloud-based home care system, meaning that your homecare software is available 24/7 from ANY web connection via your secure log-in page. Instead of being strapped to the computers in your office, ClearCare can be used to manage client shifts, caregiver availability and communication from a laptop, tablet or smartphone – meaning you can also use 3G service when internet isn’t an option due to storm conditions.

Hurricane season can be a tense time for home care providers and their clientele. However, taking the proper steps to preparedness and choosing to manage your business with the most reliable home care software on the market, ClearCare can be an ally in getting you through the storm.

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