Emergency planning for vulnerable populations constitutes a major element of community disaster preparedness and is an area in which guidance is particularly sparse. As evidenced by the well-publicized deaths of nursing home residents following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the need to improve nursing home emergency preparedness is self-evident. Nevertheless, as efforts to improve preparedness develop, a central controversy remains. Aside from mandatory complete evacuations, is it better to evacuate or not to evacuate frail elderly nursing home residents in the setting of hurricane emergencies? This paper reviews the historical evidence on both sides of the argument and suggests a policy and research agenda.
The controversy inherent in managing frail nursing home residents during complex hurricane emergencies.
September 7, 2008