Patients who receive home nutritional care should have emergency plans
On the heels of the 2014 hurricane season, researchers are calling for home parenteral and enteral nutrition (HPEN) consumers and their homecare providers to have a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan (EPP) to ensure that special needs are met during the time of a disaster.
In a paper published in the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition's (A.S.P.E.N.) Nutrition in Clinical Practice journal, researchers with Coram Specialty Infusion Services outline the experiences of HPEN consumers and homecare providers in New Jersey affected by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 and use that information to present recommendations for EPPs.
Among the key recommendations for consumers is to contact their utility company prior to any disaster to ensure they are properly identified as power-dependent customers, and to have an HPEN emergency kit as well as a basic emergency kit. They also advocate for consumers to have an emergency contact list that includes names and contact information for designated family and friends, physicians, and pharmacy and homecare providers.
The researchers recommend that the homecare providers' EPPs be focused on ensuring safety of consumers and employees, minimizing any interruption of services, and preparing contingency plans or designating back-up providers.
The researchers also recommend that providers develop an EPP manual for their HPEN consumers and that they provide their consumers with supplies to have on hand in case they require an alternate method or type of feeding.
To help HPEN consumers and homecare providers develop EPPs, the researchers cite The Oley Foundation as a helpful resource.