Clinical Section / Original Paper
Disaster Preparedness in Home Health and Personal-Care Agencies: Are They Ready?Daugherty J.D. · Eiring H. · Blake S. · Howard D.
Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., USA
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Article / Publication Details
Background: The use of home health care and personal-care agencies in the United States has increased by nearly 1,000% in less than 20 years. Despite the numerous advantages of keeping older and disabled people at home and fairly independent, new concerns have emerged about how to keep home health care and personal-care clients safe during emergencies and large-scale disasters. To date, little is known about the disaster preparedness activities of home health and personal-care agencies, including what oversight they have for their patients and what capabilities they sustain for preparing their clients for disasters. Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore the disaster preparedness policies and practices of these agencies and to identify opportunities for coordination with disaster preparedness officials. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted by phone and in person with 21 home health and personal-care administrators across Georgia and Southern California. Transcripts from the interviews were analyzed for disaster preparedness themes. Results: We found that most agencies have very limited disaster plans and capabilities. Despite this, most stated either their intentions or outlined past experience which demonstrated their commitment to provide services to clients on a case-by-case basis throughout a large-scale emergency or disaster. Conclusion: The findings from our study help to contribute to the growing interest in disaster preparedness among home health and personal-care agencies and point to the fact that these agencies need assistance to properly lay out their disaster preparedness plans.
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Article / Publication Details
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