247789 Disaster preparedness: Meeting the health needs of the frail elderly

Monday, October 31, 2011

Susan M. Smith, EdD MSPH , Department of Applied Health Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Emergency response challenges faced by administrators and staff of senior day care centers, group homes, nursing homes,residential rehabilitation facilities and those operating similar facilities supporting the needs of the frail elderly during a disaster are highlighted and strategies to improve response recommended. The critical components of an emergency preparedness plan for facilities expected to meet the complex physical, medical and social needs of their elderly clients will be identified and defined. Specific elements of an emergency plan designed to ensure the appropriate management of pharmaceuticals, adequate staffing, safe sheltering in place, and appropriate transportation for evacuation and relocation during a disaster are addressed. Examples of documented successful and failed attempts of facilities to respond and meet the needs of frail elderly clients in past disaster situations are provided. Participants are provided with an overview and appropriate use of a 12 page emergency preparedness facility assessment tool called the 10-point Emergency Preparedness Checklist. This instrument was created to assess the emergency preparedness of a facility providing day or residential care for high risk groups including the elderly. This group may have a visual, hearing, or mobility impairment and require special warning systems or other assistance to successfully shelter in place or evacuation during the period of a disaster. Each participant attending the session will receive a copy of the 10-Point Emergency Preparedness Check List that each can take back to their organization and adopted for use as an emergency preparedness assessment tool.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the primary challenges facing facilities responsible for meeting the needs of the frail elderly during a disaster. 2. List and discuss the critical components of an emergency preparedness plan for a facility whose clients include the frail elderly. 3. Discuss key factors influencing the success or failure of a facility in the past to meet the needs of the frail elderly during a disaster. 4. Demonstrate how the 10 Point Emergency Preparedness Checklist can be used by a facility to assess emergency preparedness.

Keywords: Disasters, Elderly

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Serving as an Assoicate Professor for Safety and Health Education, Dr. Smith has over 14 years experience teaching graduate level courses related to emergency preparedness and response and working with students to carry out service learning projects in the community addressing emergency preparedness and response of public health and health care organizations. Dr. Smith's research focuses on strategies to reduce injures and death of individiuals within high risk groups during a disaster. This group includes the frail elderly. Dr. Smith has an extensive record of publishing in this field at the national and international level. She directed the development of the 10-Point Emergency Preparedness Facility Checklist. Dr. Smith has made this assessment tool available for use at no charge in a word format since its development through a special safety workshop class. The check list incorporates a focus on the special needs of individuals who may have a visual, hearing or mobility impairment during a disaster as part of the facility assessment.
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.