Tragedy in Ohio Nursing Home – Active Shooter/Hostage situation

Sadly, the statement that “it will never happen here” is one we often hear about in emergency preparedness and healthcare – more specifically in the long term care setting.  On May 12, 2017 – a nursing home in Ohio was faced with this scenario – and it was not a drill.  The following link will take you to a timeline of occurrences during the day.

Please feel free to review this article and try to envision what you would be doing in your facility if this occurred.


Minnesota HomeCare Conference – Emergency Preparedness 101

On Wednesday, May 10th, I had the pleasure of presenting at the Minnesota HomeCare Conference.  With the recent upgrade to the CMS requirements, Emergency Preparedness is a hot topic for many agencies that have not had to have the level of preparedness that hospitals have.  This presentation discussed how to get a preparedness program up and running, the specifics regarding how to do a Hazard Vulnerability Analysis, and how to implement a training and exercise program.  There was a lot of great discussion.  I look forward to incorporating HomeCare agencies in our regional planning and support efforts.

Shawn Stoen, RHPC, WCMHPC

MN MMT Exercise and Training Event


The Minnesota Mobile Medical Team participated in a two day training and exercise in New Brighton, Minnesota on January 17th and 18th, 2017.  The first day consisted on training about the processes we use in order to provide support to communities when there is a disaster. This training including set up of the equipment, patient tracking, charting process, incident command roles and responsibilities, communications, and working with at risk populations.  The second day put the training to a test.  The scenario was based upon a fictitious hospital being impacted by a tornado and being unable to provide services to the community. The MN MMT was deployed to provide medical care for the surrounding community.  We had over 50 patients receive care and treatment. Three of those patients were critical and required intensive care treatment and transport to neighboring hospitals. Working with the Mobile Medical team were representatives from the Minnesota Responds Behavioral Health team. They operated at Family Assistance Center and assisted with mental health issues as well as family reunification and unaccompanied minors.  Overall the experience was a success and any lessons learned will be incorporated in our next exercise or actual deployment.

If you have any staff that would be interested in joining the Mobile Medical team please do not hesitate to give them Shawn Stoens’ contact information –  The team is actively recruiting from any/all aspects of healthcare.

LTC Preparedness Workshop


Despite the fact that many people in Central and West Central MN experienced freezing rain and snow during their morning commute; we had a great turnout for our Long Term Care Preparedness Conference on January 10, 2017. Thank you all for being safe!

Our intent for the day was to share the new CMS rules, to understand that as a coalition we are never alone in dealing with a disaster, we learned how to fill out an HVA, what the different components are within the new rules and where to start if you haven’t already. A panel of speakers shared their own stories of disaster experiences from the past that gave us an awareness that disasters not only could happen but have happened in Long Term Care.

An important message gained from this workshop was the importance of being a member of the Healthcare Coalition. It was stressed many times throughout the conference that we are not alone; in times of need there are processes in place that can help you get the assistance you need without you having to do all the work.

If you are not a part of the coalition in Central MN at this time, please contact Don Sheldrew or Karen Legg for more information.

If you are in the West Central MN Region please contact Shawn Stoen at or at 320-760-3513.

Perham Sanford Hospital responds to CO poisoning

OTTER TAIL COUNTY, Minn. (Valley News Live) – Update 12/21/2016


One person has died and eight people were rushed to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. It happened in Otter Tail County Monday night.

The house where it happened sits on the shores of Sybil Lake near Vergas and was where a 67-year-old man was pronounced dead.

A spokesman for the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Department says the 67-year-old homeowner was alone in a shop he built on the couple’s property. Several friends of the family have identified the victim as Tom Elkin, a retired cabinet maker.

The Otter Tail County Sheriffs Office tells us his wife came home about 7:00 Monday night to find him not breathing. The Sheriff’s Office says shortly after EMS arrived on scene, paramedics and the wife started showing signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Typically symptoms are headaches,” said Perham Health, Emergency Department Medical Director, Dr. Timothy Studer. “That’s the most common symptom. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, dizziness, general fatigue and malaise.”

High levels were found in the home and the family was reportedly doing remodeling work. The Sheriff’s Office tells us the wife collapsed.

“In this case it was very quickly,” said Dr. Studer. “Our EMS responders were there for just a few minutes and they had very high levels when they arrived here.”

Perham Health says three EMS employees were airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center along with the wife. She’s reported to be in satisfactory condition. The reason they were taken to Hennepin County is because they have a hyperbaric chamber, a device which is needed to treat carbon monoxide poisoning.

A number of medical helicopters came from around the region to transport the affected patients. We are still waiting to find out just what caused such a large carbon monoxide leak.

Original Story

One person has died and eight people were rushed to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. It happened in Otter Tail County Monday night.

The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office says a woman came home to find her husband not breathing. A 67-year-old man was pronounced dead at the home, which is in rural Vergas, Minnesota near Sybil Lake.

The wife and some paramedics then started to show signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. High levels of carbon monoxide were detected. A deputy tells Valley News Live the family was doing some remodeling on the house.

Perham Health tells Valley News Live four people, including three Perham Area EMS employees, were air lifted to Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC). Perham Health says the three EMS employees will be released Tuesday. HCMC says the woman is in satisfactory condition.

The other four people involved were kept at Perham Health for observation and released at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office says deputies, State Patrol troopers and firefighters were all involved.

Sanford Air Care from Fargo, Valley Med Flight of Grand Forks, and North Memorial of Brainerd/Bemidji all responded to help with transferring patients.

“Our hearts go out to our first responders and their families,” stated Chuck Hofius, Perham Health CEO. “Each time EMS personnel go on a call, we know there is risk and worry for their safety. I am so proud of everyone at Perham health – from the EMS crew on the scene to the staff in the emergency department who responded so quickly to the many other employees that came in from home to help. They did an incredible job in a very scary situation.”

National Healthcare Coalition Preparedness Conference

Washington Monument and Capitol _ SS

Representatives from the Central and West Central Minnesota Healthcare Preparedness Coalitions went to Washington, DC during the week of December 12 – 14, 2016 to participate in this national conference.  This conference provides an opportunity to learn best practices and lessons learned by other coalitions around the United States. It also provided us the opportunity to explore the capital area and view some of the national monuments and memorials.