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By weCare Staffing on October 10, 2022

Hurricane Aftermath: The Importance of Nurses and Nurse Support After a Hurricane

After a major hurricane, there's usually an influx of patients who need medical attention. This results in major strain on already-scarce SNF (skilled nursing facility) resources. Nurses are the backbone of these facilities, providing life-saving care to the needy. But that doesn't mean they don't need support themselves. In this article, we'll highlight the extreme importance of nurses after a major hurricane and reveal several ways you, as a SNF owner or manager, can support and empower them to provide their best care. 

Why Are Nurses Important Post-Hurricane?

In the days and hours leading up to a hurricane, the focus is usually on how strong the hurricane will be, how much damage it will do to buildings, etc. But once the storm does its worst, interest from news outlets and social media usually wanes.

What people don't realize is that the aftermath of a hurricane can be even more devastating than the storm itself. This idea applies directly to SNFs. A severe storm could have detrimental effects on your residents and staff, especially when circumstances require you to shelter-in-place and weather the storm rather than evacuate. 

Nurses are central to the provision of care post-disaster. They provide invaluable care on the front lines to assist with evacuations, provide first aid, treat injuries, and much more. Without nurses, patients wouldn’t receive the medical attention they need, and the worst could become reality in their lives. 

There’s no doubting the importance of nurses post-hurricane.

Nurse Support is Crucial After a Hurricane

While providing care to the ill and injured, nurses are exposed to various dangers in hurricane-affected areas. Flood water, damaged structures, exposed wiring, and more threaten their well-being, putting them at high risk of developing serious injuries and health problems. Some of which include respiratory illnesses, skin infections, and stress-related disorders.

In addition to the increased risk of being harmed themselves, they still need to care for those who have been injured or affected by the hurricane. Many of them work extended shifts during a weather crisis, with some expected to work back-to-back shifts. 

What's more is that while they're dealing with the aftermath of the weather event, they still have to draw upon complex technical knowledge, perform complicated tasks, and provide patient care in a timely and efficient manner. And they must do it with limited resources. 

The demands of the job are not only physical and mental, but also emotional. Emergency responders often have to face horrific events and deal with traumatized victims and their families. These situations can be more traumatic than what they’d see on a regular basis. 

All of these things weigh on nurses, and the stress can have a profound impact on their professional performance. For these reasons and more, nurses need support from all fronts after a hurricane.

How SNF Management Can Support Nurses

There are several ways you can support nurses post-hurricane. And we'll give you some tips in the following list: 

  • Ensure they have the resources they need to do their job. This means making sure they have access to medical supplies and equipment. It's nearly impossible for them to do their best work if they're not provided the necessities. Ensure that your facility has emergency equipment on hand in the event of a hurricane (or any other crisis).
  • Make sure their working environment is safe. The space should be relatively clean and free of potential hazards. This can be a bit difficult to guarantee, especially if a hurricane has torn through part of your facility. But do the best you can. 
  • Provide life-sustaining resources to them. Just like anyone else affected by a natural disaster, nurses need access to food and water, as well as to medical care if they need it. They can't help others if they're starving or sick themselves. 
  • Address staffing issues for nurse workload management. When there aren't enough nurses to go around, nurses will burn out quickly, and care quality may suffer. So, make sure that you have enough nurses on hand to provide the care your residents need. If possible, consider asking other facilities to send some of their nurses to help out in the hurricane aftermath. You can also enlist the help of a nurse staffing agency and have them on speed dial in the event of a disaster. They have the resources and manpower to help you fill nursing gaps and ensure that your residents receive the care necessary to recover.

So, there you have it! Though it may be incredibly difficult to lift the heavy load nurses carry post-hurricane, you can do your part to help out using the tips above. Your thoughtful actions and preparatory steps will equip nurses to drive more favorable patient outcomes!


Published by weCare Staffing October 10, 2022