Disaster Ready Behavioral Care Tool Kit

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

The state of Arizona has posted this Disaster Ready Behavioral Care Tool Kit which can be used beyond Arizona although some things are specific to AZ.  This is a 128-page guide was developed as a result of the Disaster Ready Behavioral Care Pilot conducted in 2018/2019.

“Many skilled nursing facilities now have behavioral care units, serving individuals with geropsychiatric issues or behaviors associated with dementia. All skilled facilities deal with behaviors in some form, even with the “traditional” nursing home population. We learned from the Pilot Study that there are unique and intensive concerns in dealing with behavioral care in long term care settings.

The frequency of non-compliance exemplified in the population of residents with mental illness and psychiatric disorders was one of the leading concerns expressed, and this has significant ramifications for decisions related to shelter in place, evacuation and facility transfers. Included in the Tool Kit is a document that will serve as a decision-making guide in an emergency. Studying this guide in your emergency preparedness efforts and promoting dialogue with your leadership team in advance of a disaster will serve you well.

The heightened concern about elopement was repeatedly emphasized in the Pilot Study. With a younger, more ambulatory population the elopement risk soars. Within this Tool Kit, you will find best practices in managing elopement with a behavioral population. This resource was developed by the Arizona Health Care Association in collaboration with clinical leaders of behavioral care facilities.

We also became aware in our Pilot Study Behavioral Tabletop Exercise that some of the Nursing Home Incident Command System Forms did not adequately meet the needs of behavioral care facilities, thus you will find revised NHICS forms in this Tool Kit. These revised forms delineate specific characteristics of behavioral residents, will facilitate your future exercises and will also be useful in an actual emergency.

One of the great benefits of the Disaster Ready program and specifically the Pilot Study, was the opportunity for behavioral care facility leaders to network with each other. We encourage you to actively participate in opportunities to meet with your peers in the behavioral arena. Each organization is different, and there is much to be learned through the exchange of ideas and practices.

Our hope is that this Tool Kit will be a helpful resource for all facilities providing some form of behavioral care.  We know that you are caring for the most vulnerable long term care residents. We also know that you are some of the leading experts in the field and have much to share. We plan to make this a “living document” with new additions and revisions as we move forward. So please share your insight and feedback to allow us to strengthen this tool.”

I encourage you to check this out.  I know you’ll find lots of great resources to utilize.