238530 Relationships between perceived disaster preparedness and actual resources and plans in case of a disaster: An exploration of the needs of older adults in San Antonio, Texas

Monday, October 31, 2011

Kim McAlister, MSN, RN , School of Nursing, University of Texas Health Science Center - San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
Rebecca Grizzle, PhD, RN, NP-C , Consultant, Independent, Glen Allen, VA 23059, VA
Lisa Zottarelli, PhD , Department of Sociology and Social Work, Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX
Julie O'Donnell , Department of Sociology and Social Work, Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX
Disasters have repeatedly demonstrated that the public cannot rely solely on government response and must assume personal responsibility to ensure the safety and survival for each individual member of the household. The elderly are a particular risk during all phases of a disaster, due to age, health conditions, and resources. The public's perception of their own disaster preparedness is based on a complex set of factors such as previous disaster-related experience, perceptions of risk, and assessments of available resources. The purpose of this paper is to examine relationships between perceptions of disaster preparedness and behaviors that demonstrate preparedness among community-dwelling older adults. The data are from a sample of 414 adults aged 60 years or older in San Antonio, Texas, and the collection was conducted as part of a community needs assessment. Respondents were asked to identify their perceived level of disaster preparedness and then asked specific questions about resources (i.e. water, medications, etc.) and plans (evacuation transportation plans, etc.) in the event of a disaster. The results suggest moderate correlations between perceived level of preparedness and available resources and plans, with low perceived preparedness and low levels of resources and planning common. Elaboration models were used to examine the role of gender, ethnicity, and frailty to identify specific areas of need. Understanding the relationship between perceived preparedness and actual preparedness will assist disaster planners and public health professionals recognize areas of need and provide resources and education to promote appropriate preparedness planning.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
To differentiate between perceived disaster preparedness and actual preparedness behaviors. To describe the role of gender, ethnicity, and frailty in disaster preparedness resources, plans, and behaviors. To discuss a least one implication of the findings for public health professionals in disaster preparedness and planning for community-dwelling older adults.

Keywords: Disasters, Elderly

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am co-PI on the project and have contributed to substantive and methodological areas, and have done extensive community-based clinical work with the target population.
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.