A first-of-its-kind national conference on disaster preparedness for nursing homes and long-term care facilities is planned for next month. Phillip Smith, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Nebraska, says the conference will draw attendees from all over Iowa and experts from around the country.

“We have speakers coming from California, speakers from the CDC, from Medicare,” Smith says. The two-day conference will focus on the special care that’s needed to handle patients and residents from long-term and residential care facilities in the event of a disaster, whether it’s natural or man-made.

“We have a variety of disasters that we’re trying to cover that range from things like fires and flooding,” Smith says. “Some of them require nursing home evacuation, which, when you’re dealing with a lot of frail, elderly people, it’s not an easy thing. Some of them require what we call sheltering in place, which is to hunker down and stay in the facility.”

The conference is scheduled for May 21st and 22nd in Omaha.