DHH training to work in special needs shelters

By Tiffany Blackmon - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – In an event of a hurricane or other disaster, members of the Department  Health and Hospitals (DHH) are receiving training to work in special needs shelters.

Dr. B.J. Foch, the Administrative Director for the DHH Region Five stated, "We're not just talking about hurricanes, we're also talking about the possibility of a tornado hit[ting] and devastate[Ling] a large area. There may be the need to open a medical special needs shelter."

Lake Charles Memorial Hospital's education department hosted in-service training sessions for licensed nurses and non-clinical workers to prepare to work in special needs shelters.

Corky Craft, Director of Education at Memorial Hospital stated, "This is a way that we can give them some clinical opportunities to get better with their skills that they might need in special needs shelters."

Skill stations for nurses included cardiac update and respiratory and dialysis catheter care.

"Medical special needs shelters are mainly for those citizens that may need medical monitoring by a nurse or our dependant on equipment like oxygen," said Dr. Foch.

Non-clinical workers participated in different skill stations. They will not administer treatment to patients, but they do need to know how to recognize signs of distress and help the center run smoothly.

Dr. Foch stated, "They are the support start for the medical staff and they play a critical role whether it's answering the telephone or whatever it may be."

Patients also need to be prepared. They should bring a 30 day supply of their own medications.

"We don't know how long they may be away from home, if they have special equipment it's very important that they bring that," said Dr. Foch.

Patients should always have a plan. A special needs staff will be prepared to help you should the time come.

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