Researchers call for patients who receive home nutritional care to have emergency plans

06/30/2014
Photo: Two men lock a window with wood

Many people were affected by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012; © panthermedia.net/Lisa Young

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.

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. Its website is http://www.oley.org.

The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) is dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy and metabolism. Founded in 1976, A.S.P.E.N. is an interdisciplinary organization whose members are involved in the provision of clinical nutrition therapies, including parenteral and enteral nutrition. With more than 6,000 members from around the world, A.S.P.E.N. is a community of dietitians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physicians, scientists, students, and other health professionals from every facet of nutrition support clinical practice, research, and education.

MEDICA.de; Source: American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.)