FMCNA Prepared to Provide Uninterrupted Care for Dialysis Patients During Active Storm Season
Emergency Response Plans Ensure That Dialysis Patients Can Get Life-Sustaining Treatments When Disaster Strikes
WALTHAM, Mass. – May 21, 2013 – With construction crews still repairing damage from last year’s catastrophic Hurricane Sandy and residents of Moore, Okla. just starting to deal with the tragic aftermath of yesterday’s devastating tornado, the importance of being prepared for natural disasters has never been more apparent. That’s especially true with the 2013 hurricane season beginning next week, and weather forecasters predicting another busy year for hurricane activity.
Emergency preparedness is critically important for dialysis patients who depend upon regular blood filtering treatments to remove waste products and extra fluids from their blood after their kidneys have failed. Fortunately, Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, has years of experience in preparing for hurricanes, tornados, floods, severe thunderstorms and other emergencies that could potentially interrupt life-sustaining treatments for its more than 167,000 U.S. patients without kidney function.
FMCNA has invested heavily in a sophisticated, nationwide disaster response system and maintains emergency supplies and trained staff all over the country. When disaster strikes, the company’s Incident Command Team is ready to quickly deliver fuel, water, food – even generators and motor homes – to affected areas, or to transport employees and patients to alternate locations for treatment if facilities are temporarily damaged or closed.
FMCNA works closely with local governments and community organizations to ensure that, during any emergency situation, it can continue to provide patients with dialysis treatments, as well as medical supplies, medicines, and lab services. Although most of its activity takes place during storm season, the task force works year round to anticipate potential problems and develop strategies to safeguard patients’ well-being.
“Our disaster response team’s preparations allow us to hit the ground running when severe storms and other emergencies occur,” said Bill Numbers, FMCNA vice president of operations support and incident commander for disaster response and planning. “Patients’ welfare is always our main concern, and our advance plans, along with the extraordinary efforts of our dedicated staff in the field, allow us to maintain the same high level of patient care, even when disasters occur.”
FMCNA recently expanded its emergency planning efforts beyond its dialysis facilities to include its network of more than 40 Fresenius Vascular Care outpatient centers, which provide fistulas, vein grafts and other vascular access procedures that make it easier for patients’ blood to be removed and returned during dialysis. “We now provide the vascular care centers and their staff and patients with the same high level of disaster preparedness and support that all FMCNA facilities receive,” said Numbers.
While FMCNA does its best to ensure continued service in the event of disasters, it recommends that dialysis patients prepare themselves during storm season by following this emergency checklist:
- Phone numbers. Keep an emergency contacts list, and contact your dialysis facility when bad weather threatens.
- Disaster plan. Talk to your dialysis care team and family ahead of time about what to do in a disaster. Monitor local weather forecasts.
- Emergency supplies. Pre-pack a first-aid kit, flashlight and batteries, blankets, radio, cell phone, food, can opener and medications.
- Transportation. In-center patients should arrange with a friend, neighbor or family member for backup transportation to their clinic.
- Power outages. Home dialysis patients should follow the directions given during home training for continuing dialysis in an emergency.
- Adjust insulin. Diabetics should ask their doctor how to adjust their insulin dosage if severe flooding or storms are forecast for their area.
FMCNA’s natural disaster response plan has been tested and validated many times in recent years, from Hurricanes Sandy, Ike and Katrina, to last year’s series of severe thunderstorms, which left a trail of property destruction and power outages stretching from Illinois to New Jersey. As part of its business plan for continuous quality improvement, the company has incorporated the lessons learned from each of these events to improve its processes, resulting in very effective disaster response capabilities.
For more information on FMCNA’s disaster response efforts and important tips to help patients prepare for any emergency, visit FMCNA’s Disaster Response website.
About Fresenius Medical Care North America
Through our leading network of more than 2,100 dialysis facilities in North America and our vascular access centers, laboratory, pharmacy and affiliated hospitals and nephrology practices, Fresenius Medical Care provides renal services to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. We are also the continent’s top producer of dialysis equipment, dialyzers and related disposable products and a major supplier of renal pharmaceuticals.