Originally published on Oct. 11, 2011
The team of the North Georgia Health District Emergency Preparedness Department has taken great strides in assisting north Georgians to prepare for widespread emergencies that could range from natural disasters to potential terroristic threats. In doing so, they are committed to making emergency preparedness in the district's health care community a top priority, with their latest focus being an even closer collaboration with long term care facilities.
Long term care facilities house some of the community's most vulnerable residents. Therefore, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) Section of Emergency Preparedness and Response, in coordination with the Georgia Health Care Association, has developed the Georgia Long Term Care Emergency Operations Plan Guide, which is based on emergency preparedness features that are most important to these facilities.
The district emergency preparedness team is in the process of meeting with the 14 long term care facilities within Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties to review this guide and to discuss each facility's all-hazards emergency plan for events such as evacuation, in-house disease outbreaks and receiving medications in the midst of a pervasive public health crisis.
The reception of the North Georgia Health District's emergency preparedness team at long term care facilities in their area has been extremely welcoming as each partner attempts to align facility emergency plans with the plans of both state and local governments. By implementing the Georgia Long Term Care Emergency Operations Plan Guide, these facilities will be better prepared to continue health care services and safe conditions for their residents during any emergency event.