Helping your LTC community cope in the wake of Hurricane Sandy (McKnight’s Guest Post)

Posted by Dr. El - November 8, 2012 - Stress/Crisis management - No Comments

It’s been a challenging time here in New York, leading me to write this guest post for McKnight’s Long-Term Care News:

Helping your LTC community cope in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, long-term care facilities may be wondering how to help their own residents, families, and staff members or those directly affected by this devastating storm.

1. Be aware of our own feelings: If we’re anxious ourselves, it’s unlikely we’re going to be of much assistance. We should take time to calm ourselves, or let others take on the task of reassuring residents, staff, and family members until we’re ready to do so.

2. Allow community members to express their concerns: Sometimes we don’t need to fix things, but can be more helpful acting as a sounding board. Often if we listen long enough, the speaker can get through the frightened feelings on his or her own.

3. Acknowledge feelings: It’s not uncommon to be fearful or anxious, which will diminish over time. Knowing this is normal can be comforting.

4. Emphasize safety procedures: Reviewing the safety procedures in the nursing home, such as backup generators, evacuation plans, and water pumps, can increase the sense of safety and control. If it seems necessary, separate group discussions can be offered for residents, staff, and family members.

5. Utilize spiritual supports: Natural disasters such as this reinforce the capriciousness of fate, and, for some people, may lead to questions of how this could have happened. Help them to understand it in terms of their spiritual beliefs.

To read more, visit Helping your LTC community cope in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and for those coping with the aftermath of the storm, be sure to check out this very helpful resource: Psychological First Aid: Field Operations Guide for Nursing Homes