In September 2006, the California Association of Health Facilities received funding through the California Department of Health Services under the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) National Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program to support the integration of long-term care into disaster planning and response efforts throughout the state of California. As a critical component of the healthcare delivery system, it has become increasingly clear that long-term care has an important role to play in disaster preparedness.
CAHF's Disaster Preparedness Program (DPP) provides services to all long-term care in California, including and beyond its own membership. CAHF's Disaster Preparedness Program takes an all hazards approach and has several aspects:
Through DPP, groups of member and non-member providers can access in-person training on several topics specifically for long-term care including an "Overview of Disaster Preparedness, Pandemic Influenza Planning and Disaster Preparedness" in the Regulations, among others. The Disaster Preparedness Program also provides education to disaster planners and responders about the needs and abilities of long-term care, both on state and local levels.
CAHF's Disaster Preparedness Program helps to facilitate interactions between long-term care facilities and their local disaster planning communities. Understanding the mechanisms for disaster response and how to work with the local government and critical infrastructure are key components to building a viable facility disaster plan. Also, provided are outreach and education to local and regional area emergency coordinators to help them better coordinate with long-term care facilities.
Development of Resources & Tools:
A key project for DPP in 2006-2007 was the Pandemic Workbook for Long-Term Care and in July 2009, the Model Respiratory Protection Program, both being the first of their kind to be written specifically for long-term care, and includes worksheets and specific tools and recommendations that providers can put into practice immediately.
State-Level Advocacy for Long-Term Care:
Staff from the Disaster Preparedness Program serve on key invitational state-level work groups handling disaster preparedness issues in California. This provides CAHF the opportunity to represent the unique and important needs of long-term care.