Carolyn Smallbone, Karen Staniland
British Journal of Community Nursing, Vol. 16, Iss. 7, 01 Jul 2011, pp 342 - 346
This article reports on a student nurse project carried out on a community placement in respect to patients dependent on medical devices in the event of power cuts. The project was designed to identify relevant literature to establish what emergency and preparatory procedures and protocols are in place in a primary care trust for this type of emergency and to identify what action a nurse in the community should take to ensure the safety and welfare of their patients if a there was a prolonged power failure.
The literature and knowledge of community staff for the correct procedures to follow in the event of a power cut in the community established that there was some cause for concern, and identified that a loss of power to a patient with a medical device poses a serious risk. Recommendations are that an initial risk assessment of power failure needs to be undertaken and included in the appropriate documentation and guidance plans prepared for community staff and should include the listing of the patient as vulnerable. The limited research identified within this project also indicates that contingency plans to ensure the safety and well-being of patients in the community clearly need to be included in disaster and emergency planning.