Disaster-related injuries and illnesses treated by american red cross disaster health services during hurricanes gustav and ike.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee, Georgia, and the American Red Cross, Washington, DC.
Southern medical journal (Impact Factor: 1.12). 01/2013; 106(1):102-8. DOI: 10.1097/SMJ.0b013e31827c9e1f
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To describe the injuries and illnesses treated by the American Red Cross (Red Cross) during Hurricanes Gustav and Ike disaster relief operations reported on a new Aggregate Morbidity Report Form.
From August 28 to October 18, 2008, 119 Red Cross field service locations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas addressed the healthcare needs of people affected by the hurricanes. From these locations, individual client visit data were retrospectively collated per site onto new 24-hour Aggregate Morbidity Report Forms.
A total of 3863 clients were treated. Of the clients, 48% were girls and women and 44% were boys and men; 61% were 19 to 64 years old. Ninety-eight percent of the visits occurred in shelters. The reasons for half of the visits were acute illness and symptoms (eg, pain) and 16% were for routine follow-up care. The majority (65%) of the 2516 visits required treatment at a field location, although 34%, or 1296 visits, required a referral, including 543 healthcare facility transfers.
During the hurricanes, a substantial number of displaced evacuees sought care for acute and routine healthcare needs. The capacity of the Red Cross to address the immediate and ongoing health needs of sheltered clients for an extended period of time is a critical resource for local public health agencies, which are often overwhelmed during a disaster. This article highlights the important role that this humanitarian organization fills, to decrease surge to local healthcare systems and to monitor health effects following a disaster. The Aggregate Morbidity Report Form has the potential to assist greatly in this role, and thus its utility for real-time reporting should be evaluated further.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: During disasters, public health departments assume the role of maintaining the health of displaced persons. Displaced persons arrive with acute and chronic conditions as well as other risk factors. Descriptions of these conditions may aid future shelter planning efforts. Approximately 4000 individuals from New Orleans, displaced by Hurricane Katrina, were sheltered in Austin, Texas. A stratified random sample of the population was selected using individual beds as the primary sampling unit. Adults were interviewed about their acute symptoms, chronic diseases, and other risk factors. The results indicate a substantial proportion of adults arrived with some symptoms of acute illness (49.8%). A majority of the adults reported living with a chronic condition (59.0%), and the prevalence of some chronic conditions was higher than that of the general population. Also, several factors that could complicate service delivery were prevalent. Acute illnesses present transmission risks within the shelter. Furthermore, chronic diseases must be managed and may complicate care of acute illnesses. Risks like activity limitation or substance abuse may complicate shelter operations. Defining the potential scope of the illness burden may be used to help public health departments better plan the services they must deliver to displaced populations.
    Prehospital and disaster medicine: the official journal of the National Association of EMS Physicians and the World Association for Emergency and Disaster Medicine in association with the Acute Care Foundation 04/2006; 21(2):55-8.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Anecdotal evidence suggests that the population displaced to shelters from Hurricane Katrina had a significant burden of disease, socioeconomic vulnerability, and marginalized health care access. For agencies charged with providing health care to at-risk displaced populations, knowing the prevalence of acute and chronic disease is critical to direct resources and prevent morbidity and mortality. We performed a 2-stage 18-cluster sample survey of 499 evacuees residing in American Red Cross shelters in Louisiana 2 weeks after landfall of Hurricane Katrina. In stage 1, shelters with a population of more than 100 individuals were randomly selected, with probability proportional to size sampling. In stage 2, 30 adult heads of household were randomly chosen within shelters by using a shelter log or a map of the shelter where no log existed. Survey questions focused on demographics, socioeconomic indicators, acute and chronic burden of disease, and health care access. Two thirds of the sampled population was single, widowed, or divorced; the majority was female (57.6%) and black (76.4%). Socioeconomic indicators of under- and unemployment (52.9%), dependency on benefits or assistance (38.5%), lack of home ownership (66.2%), and lack of health insurance (47.0%) suggested vulnerability. One third lacked a health provider. Among those who arrived at shelters with a chronic disease (55.6%), 48.4% lacked medication. Hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, pulmonary disease, and psychiatric illness were the most common chronic conditions. Risk factors for lacking medications included male sex (odds ratio [OR] 1.58; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.96 to 2.59) and lacking health insurance (OR 2.25; 95% CI 1.21 to 4.20). More than one third (34.5%) arrived at the shelter with symptoms warranting immediate medical intervention, including dehydration (12.0%), dyspnea (11.5%), injury (9.4%), and chest pain (9.7%). Risk factors associated with presenting to shelters with acute symptoms included concurrent chronic disease with medication (OR 2.60; 95% CI 1.98 to 3.43), concurrent disease and lacking medication (OR 2.22; 95% CI 1.36 to 3.63), and lacking health insurance (OR 1.83; 95% CI 1.10 to 3.02). A population-based understanding of vulnerability, health access, and chronic and acute disease among the displaced will guide disaster health providers in preparation and response.
    Annals of emergency medicine 05/2008; 51(4):426-32. · 4.33 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We examined nursing home preparedness needs by studying the experiences of nursing homes that sheltered evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. Five weeks after Hurricane Katrina, and again 15 weeks later, we conducted interviews with administrators of 14 nursing homes that sheltered 458 evacuees in 4 states. Nine weeks after Katrina, we conducted site visits to 4 nursing homes and interviewed 4 administrators and 38 staff members. We used grounded theory analysis to identify major themes and thematic analysis to organize content. Although most sheltering facilities were well prepared for emergency triage and treatment, we identified some major preparedness shortcomings. Nursing homes were not included in community planning or recognized as community health care resources. Supplies and medications were inadequate, and there was insufficient communication and information about evacuees provided by evacuating nursing homes to sheltering nursing homes. Residents and staff had notable mental health-related needs after 5 months, and maintaining adequate staffing was a challenge. Nursing homes should develop and practice procedures to shelter and provide long-term access to mental health services following a disaster. Nursing homes should be integrated into community disaster planning and be classified in an emergency priority category similar to hospitals.
    American Journal of Public Health 08/2008; 98(7):1288-93. · 3.93 Impact Factor