The aim of this research was to develop a pamphlet that would enable patients with diabetes, rheumatic diseases, chronic respiratory disease, and dialysis treatment to be aware of changes in their physical conditions at an early stage of a disaster, cope with these changes, maintain self-care measures, and recover their health.
Illness-specific pamphlets were produced based on disaster-related literature, news articles, surveys of victims of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Disaster and Typhoon Tokage, and other sources.
Each pamphlet consisted of seven sections—each section includes items common to all illnesses as well as items specific to each illness. The first section, “Physical Self-Care”, contains a checklist of 18 common physical symptoms as well as symptoms specific to each illness, and goes on to explain what the symptoms may indicate and what should be done about them. The main aim of the “Changes in Mental Health Conditions” section is to detect post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at an early stage. The section “Preventing the Deterioration of Chronic Illnesses” is designed to prevent the worsening of each illness through the provision of information on cold prevention, adjustment to the living environment, and ways of coping with stress. In the sections, “Medication Control” and “Importance of Having Medical Examinations”, spaces are provided to list medications currently being used and details of the hospital address, in order to ensure the continued use of medications. The section, “Preparing for Evacuations” gives a list of everyday items and medical items needed to be prepared for a disaster. Finally, the “Methods of Contact in an Emergency” section provides details of how to use the voicemail service. The following content-specific to each illness also was explained in detail: (1) for diabetes, complications arising from the deterioration of the illness, attention to nutrition, and insulin management; (2) for rheumatic diseases, a checklist of factors indicating the worsening of the illness and methods of coping with stress; (3) for chronic respiratory disease, prevention of respiratory infections and management of supplemental oxygen; and (4) for patients requiring dialysis, conditions of dialysis (such as dry weight, dialyzer, number of dialysis treatments, and dialysis hours) and what to do if a disaster occurs during dialysis.
It is expected that these pamphlets will be useful to patients with chronic illnesses, and will be used to prepare for disasters, thereby helping the patients cope with the unusual situation that during a disaster and recover as soon as possible.