206844 “Emergency Care for High Risk Populations by Non-Profit Community Facilities in New Orleans”

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:00 AM

Peggy Chehardy, EdD, CHES , School of Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Alison Smith , School of Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
New Orleans has a longstanding history of inadequate healthcare for the “at risk” population. In the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the numbers of uninsured, underserved and impoverished residents has significantly increased in the aftermath. The prevalence of homelessness and mental health patients are turning to non-profit community centers for health care.

Numerous non-profits have established community centers to care for the very large “at risk” population. Many “at risk” residents are increasingly becoming reliant on community centers that previously offered shelter, substance abuse counseling, social services, but are now handling general medical complaints. Students from Tulane University School of Medicine volunteer through Service Learning Projects to provide basic medical services at a number of these community centers. From these experiences, it is obvious that these facilities are at risk of facing a number of life-threatening emergencies that staff/volunteers are not proper training or equipment to handle.

We created a project that provides basic First Aid/CPR/AED training to staff/volunteers at these facilities. Medical students provide American Heart Association training courses yearly to cover staff turnover. Additionally, we obtained automated external defibrillators for these facilities and raise funds for maintenance of the equipment.

We offer a healthcare collaborative solution to support all community centers to get prepared to handle medical emergencies with First Aid/CPR/AED training and tools. These facility's needs and the numbers of “at risk” people they serve are increasing. This affordable and low maintenance project could be instituted in other community centers across the U.S.

Learning Objectives:
1. Demonstrate the need for emergency preparedness in community facilities that work with high-risk populations 2. Identify the need for health care policy that mandates the training of all people in Basic First Aid/CPR/AED who work with a high-risk population and availability of life-sustaining equipment in community homes. 3. Outline a procedure that will provide adequate training and equipment to staff and volunteers at these facilities in order to deal with life-threatening situations. 4. Provide a protocol that can be instituted at other non-profit community facilities

Keywords: Challenges and Opportunities, Community Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Director for Service Learning Projects in community agencies for all Medical students in their first and second year for the past 15 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.