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William "Zac" White, Attorney & Counselor at Law [email protected] (501) 365-3934 Hablamos Español

The Implications of Power Outages on Medical Technology Functionality

The electronic infrastructure that underpins our digital existence is frequently overlooked, yet it plays a crucial role in numerous facets of our everyday lives. This infrastructure is particularly vital for seniors residing in their homes, retirement communities, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes.

Everything is fine while devices, enterprise servers, and cloud services are powered up and providing the digital environment senior residents and operators of senior facilities have come to expect.

What happens when the power supply is cut off? Whether due to a natural disaster, mechanical failure, inadequate management of onsite services, or aging infrastructure, any downtime to medical devices can constitute a dangerous medical situation for residents in a senior living facility.

Informing Seniors of Power Interruption Plans

Some state legislators are drafting bills that would require assisted living facility operators to inform residents and prospective residents of preparations they have in place in the event of a power interruption or a complete loss of power.

If you or a loved one are considering a senior living situation, knowing that there is a reliable plan in place to ensure adequate power and associated backup plans can mean the difference between comfort or not, proper medical attention or not, even life or death.

It is vital that the backup power source is always at the senior living facility. It should be clear in the emergency power plan exactly which facility services will be supplied electricity if there is an interruption in the normal electric power source. It is critical that staff members at these facilities be trained to maintain and operate the emergency power source.

The Issue of Power Failures for Seniors and What to Do

In any business or residence, a power failure is a problem; however, when it occurs in a senior living facility, it is a matter of pressing urgency. If life-saving medical devices stop functioning the consequences could be life threatening.

In the case of a power outage in a private home, the best approach may be to move the senior to a safer location. A temporary backup generator is useful for the short term, but the ability of a senior to manage a generator in a crisis is not a sure bet.

What to Look for at Senior Facilities

What should you or your loved one look for in a senior living facility’s backup power plan? The obvious first is an onsite, facility owned generator with more power than is needed to sufficiently run the facility’s core functions. Core functions include lighting, heating, cooling, and power for digital hardware and its related communication abilities.

As a senior living facility adds more residents or increases workload to their power needs the generator must be upgraded to accommodate the increased workload. Ask the facility administrator if the facility’s backup generator is being maintained and can handle the necessary power load in case of an emergency.

We hope you enjoyed this article. If you would like to discuss a personal legal matter, we would be happy to talk. Please contact our Heber Springs, Arkansas Office at (501) 365-3934.

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