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How Do Nursing Homes Handle Emergencies?

by | Apr 26, 2024 | Caregivers Support, Caregiving, Community, Resources

In Nursing Homes, there are experienced doctors and nurses who are able to recognise and handle a medical emergency. Recognizing a medical emergency is crucial as it denotes a sudden illness necessitating immediate medical intervention. Seven indicators of such emergencies include experiencing sudden or severe pain, particularly chest pain, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, uncontrolled bleeding, sudden confusion or disorientation, sudden dizziness, numbness, weakness, or vision changes, coughing or vomiting blood, and continuous vomiting or diarrhoea.

The Healthcare Services Act (HCSA) replaces the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act (PHMCA) and introduces a services-based approach to licensing and regulating health services. This transition aims to enhance the quality and accessibility of healthcare services across various healthcare facilities.


Doctor Assignment and Medical Care Plans in Nursing Homes 

Nursing Home service licensees are mandated to ensure every resident has a designated doctor overseeing their care. Within 48 hours of admission, or the next working day if admitted on a non-working day, a doctor must assess each new resident and develop a medical care plan accordingly. Moreover, Nursing Homes must promptly involve doctors in resident care as needed, employing either in-house doctors or licensed outpatient medical service providers. Regardless of employment status, doctors providing services to Nursing home residents must operate under an Outpatient Medical Service (OMS) license.


Certification Requirements for Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) in Nursing Homes

Nursing Home service licensees must ensure that all registered healthcare professionals (HCPs), including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and allied health professionals, maintain valid certifications in Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) use, especially in clinical areas like NH wards. Even if medically unfit for practical applications, HCPs must retain valid BCLS and AED certifications for theoretical knowledge.


Resuscitation Drugs and Equipment Standards in Nursing Homes

Nursing Home service licensees are obligated to maintain a stock of resuscitation drugs and equipment within the facility, ensuring their availability when a doctor is present. Essential resuscitation drugs, including adrenaline, antihistamines, and steroids, must be readily accessible, along with vital equipment like manual resuscitators and infusion sets. Additionally, Nursing Homes Must store inhaled or nebulized bronchodilators and appropriate delivery devices.

Ministry of Health Mandates for Resuscitation Facilities in NHs

Following a Ministry of Health review, Nursing Homes are required to equip their premises with basic resuscitation drugs and equipment to handle emergencies when doctors are onsite. Essential items such as air-viva, oro-pharyngeal airways of varying sizes, means for intravenous infusion setup, and specific emergency medications like adrenaline, hydrocortisone, and antihistamines must be readily available within Nursing Homes to ensure prompt and effective emergency response.

Nursing homes prioritise emergency preparedness under the Healthcare Services Act (HCSA). By assigning dedicated doctors, maintaining staff certification standards, and stocking essential resuscitation drugs and equipment, these facilities are enhancing their ability to respond swiftly and effectively to emergencies. These measures reaffirm nursing homes’ commitment to ensuring resident safety and providing high-quality healthcare services. For more information on the lifestyle and facilities of seniors in a nursing home, read here for more information.

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