Transportation Assistance Levels and Home Care

 Transportation Assistance Levels (TAL) Overview

At SelectCare Home Care Services of NY, we understand that there are few things more distressing for families than wondering if their loved ones will be safe during an emergency event, be it a blackout, hurricane or other potentially hazardous situation.

To that end, our staff has worked tirelessly with partners at New York City Emergency Management, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and fellow home care agencies to develop plans that not only solve the challenges of prior emergencies, but anticipate the challenges of the future.

As of June 1, 2016, the NYS Department of Health will require all home care agencies to determine and record the Transportation Assistance Level (TALs) of every client they serve.

The TAL program, like so many other good emergency preparedness measures, is a common sense policy: the three TAL ratings indicate what level of assistance a patient will need in order to be safely transported from their home to a secure location if an emergency event forces them to evacuate.

TALs first appeared as a pilot program in New York hospitals in 2009. Although the program was largely successful, the system was modified to ensure that hospital and emergency services had a unified system to follow. Hospitals reversed the order that was used by EMS SMART Tag triage system, leading to several cases of mislabeling patients. Outside of this change, the TALs used today are almost entirely unchanged from the initial program.

The TAL classifications are as follows:

TAL-1 : Non-ambulatory  Ambulatory

This rating is meant for patients who are bedbound and unable to sit upright for long periods of time. In the event of an emergency, the city 911 system will dispatch FDNY and EMS staff to assist the client by stretcher into an ambulance for transportation.

TAL-2: Wheelchair  Wheelchair

This rating indicates that a client is unable to walk short distances due to a physical or medical condition. When an evacuation occurs, paratransit services like Access-A-Ride are used to transport patients to safety.

TAL-3: Ambulatory   Non-Ambulatory

This final rating is reserved for patients who can safely walk without the assistance of others and includes patients who use a cane, walker or similar device. When an evacuation occurs, paratransit services like Access-A-Ride.

The new DOH regulations will require home care providers to assess every patient’s TAL, register these levels on their client roster, and update TALs as the condition of the patient changes.

SelectCare’s Field Nurse Supervisors perform mobility checks during a client’s initial free home health assessment and perform follow up checks during each client’s free monthly nursing visit, updating their TAL if necessary.

We at SelectCare are extremely happy to hear that this program will be adopted throughout the home care industry. While we hope that these evacuation procedures are never needed, we are happy to hear that home care recipients throughout New York will benefit from these added safety measures.

To learn more about how SelectCare protects its clients during emergency events, or how our staff of home health care experts can help your loved one through good times and bad, call us today.