Online Program

Planning and implementing special needs shelters for children and young adults

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sharon Surrency, RN, BSN, MPH, FCN, North Central Region (Gainesville, Jacksonville, Daytona & Ocala), Children's Medical Services, Gainesville, FL
Background/Purpose: Community preparedness is essential to surviving natural disasters and emergency events. By adequate preparations, we mitigate the effects these events have on our lives. This is especially true with children and their families whether they are typical or have special needs. We focus on this population in our plans for preparation, mobilization, demobilization, and evaluation. Methods: The Florida Department of Health has developed and exercised best practices for pediatric special needs shelters and has created teams of people who are resources for addressing the needs of children in general shelters and post-event assessments in communities. The collaboration among agencies and clinicians has led to replication of pediatric special needs shelters in many areas of our State. Results/Outcomes: Engaging and empowering families and young adults about preparedness have proven successful in terms of planning where to shelter and obtaining resources to shelter safely. If they choose a community shelter, we have prepared the staff and the families for what to expect in these critical situations and provided clinical back-up to assure safety for the patients. The participant will learn about these steps and resources. Conclusions: It is a shared responsibility among pediatric professionals, agencies, and citizens to be prepared for events that could affect us. We have had success implementing preparedness and sheltering services that focus on children and their families during disasters. Our goal is to empower families and young adults to be the planners independent of us.

Learning Areas:

Program planning
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Explain how agencies obtain buy-in for designated pediatric shelters Discuss processes for identifying, educating and following up on vulnerable populations Identify successful steps to take to assure that the shelter will meet the needs of children and their families Sharing of lessons learned in this experience

Keyword(s): Children With Special Needs, Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I serve as Regional Nursing Director for Children's Medical Services in the North Central Florida, which includes 23 counties. I am responsible for health and developmental services to children with special healthcare needs in this region for Florida's Title V program. I hold a BSN, MPH, and certification in Faith Community Nursing. I was instrumental in planning, development, implementation of one of the first pediatric special needs shelters in Florida.
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.