Technology makes our lives better in many different ways.
One of those ways is in-home electronic medical equipment. It helps millions of people age in their own homes. Rather than experiencing days, weeks, months or even years in hospitals. Or in other medical facilities.
But as with everything, there are drawbacks. The single biggest problem for many people who are dependent on this kind of equipment is a power outage.
Natural disasters almost always cause blackouts. Some may only last a few hours, while others can go on for days and even weeks.
Few Have Back-up Power
More than 2.5 million home health patients using medical equipment are vulnerable to natural disasters. That’s according to a recent article in Home Health Care News.
And with NOAA predicting “above-normal” activity this hurricane season with 10-17 named storms and 2-4 major hurricanes, seniors are more vulnerable than ever.
Hospitals are required by law to have backup power ready and waiting at all times. But many of those with electronic medical equipment at home don’t have a backup energy supply.
A recent study by Clean Energy Group and Meridian Institute focused on Medicare members who rely on electricity to power their home health equipment.
Healthcare trends show that the number of people affected is likely to grow. Especially as Baby Boomers continue to age.
Protection Needed at Home
Marriele Mango was the lead author of the study and is an associate for Clean Energy Group.
“Energy security just isn’t there for them in the way that it is in a nursing home, assisted living home or a hospital,” she said.
Lewis Milford is the head of Clean Energy Group. Here’s what he said about the situation.
“The sad irony is that we want to move people out of hospitals. But we have no similar protections for them while they’re at home.
“We’re basically saying, you should get your medical care at home. But we’re not going to make sure that the equipment that’s provided will actually run.”
Maria & Sandy Pulled the Plug
More than 4,600 people in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands died during and following Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Nearly one-third of those deaths were attributed to medical device failures occurring due to power outages.
But this is not only a problem outside of the contiguous United States. Hurricane Sandy caused lengthy power outages for millions of people in 17 states in 2012.
Hundreds of people had to go to hospital emergency rooms. In order to plug in their electronic healthcare devices.
Irma Killed 8 in Nursing Home
In 2017, Hurricane Irma created one of the largest ever U.S. power outages. In the Southeast, more than 16 million people lost power.
That included about 7 million people living in Florida. Eight of those people died in a nursing home due to sweltering heat after Irma caused blackouts.
The average age of those who passed during Hurricane Irma was 63. And 15 percent of the deaths were attributed to medical conditions affected by an outage.
Clearly seniors are the ones most likely to be affected by power outages. Many of these seniors need to shelter in place. Due to mobility issues and economic limitations.
Florida Is a Big Target
People in Florida are the ones who are particularly vulnerable. Due to the state’s susceptibility to hurricanes and intense heat. And also due to the state’s older population.
Many use electrical home health equipment in the Sunshine State. Including oxygen concentrators, ventilators, dialysis machines and motorized wheelchairs.
Florida requires counties to create registries of residents who are most vulnerable to storms. And to prolonged power outages.
In this manner, first responders and public health officials know where these people live. And what their medical needs are.
Back-Up Power the Key
This sounds great on the surface. But some 4 million seniors live in Florida. It seems that only a small percentage could be given needed assistance in time.
And that’s assuming first responders are able to reach their homes during a natural disaster.
That’s why it’s critical for seniors and those dependent on electronic medical equipment to prepare themselves with a back-up power source in order to remain safe and secure during any sort of disaster.
An obvious choice to help with power outages is to have a generator on hand.
But if that generator runs on gas, there could be a bigger problem than not having power.
That’s why we recommend using a solar generator instead. Just hear it from Joe Y.:
“I live in an apartment complex that has a backup generator just in case the power goes out. Approximately three months after receiving my Patriot Power Generator, we had a major power outage. Sure enough, the complex’s backup power went offline.
“I figured okay, time to go to bed. However, I use a CPAP machine. So I pulled out my 4Patriots Generator, plugged in the CPAP, and slept like a baby.
“The power was restored sometime that night, but in the morning when I woke up I recharged it from the sun. It was easy. My advice to anyone, don’t think about it, just get it. It is a life-saver and you never know when you’re going need it. Thank you.”
You see, you can use it to run kitchen appliances. Power your personal or medical devices. Or light up a room with an LED light string… for weeks at a time.
Plus, there’s no worry about running it inside your house because it does not produce fumes like a gas generator.
To your health,
Managing Editor, Health4Patriots