Readiness Can Help Minimize Harm
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When an incident occurs in aging services, the very first steps taken—including identifying the incident, caring for the people affected, making an initial determination of severity, and conducting internal and external notifications—are critical. But incident management plans often do not adequately describe these steps and the challenges that can arise in both routine and unusual circumstances.
For example, failure to promptly identify that an incident has occurred and notify appropriate people, internally and externally, may exacerbate harm. If hazards are not quickly addressed, initial injury to individuals or property damage can domino into additional injuries to others. Delays can hinder fact collection and device sequestration (when applicable), potentially impeding investigation and analysis or abrogating legal protections. Similarly, having inadequate protocols and readily available supplies to provide immediate care for affected individuals, including staff and visitors, can worsen injuries and outcomes.