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Home health agencies have been tasked to improve their patients’ disaster preparedness. Few studies have evaluated the robustness of tools to support preparedness in home health. Through evaluation of the Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC) Patient Assessment Tool, we conducted a survey to identify strengths and challenges in supporting the preparedness of patients served by home health programs such as the Veterans Health Administration’s HBPC program.
Practitioners from 10 HBPC programs fielded the Patient Assessment Tool with all patients during a 3-week period. Logistic regression and bivariate analyses were used to identify patient characteristics associated with the delivery of preparedness education.
A total of 754 Patient Assessment Tools were returned. The educational item most likely to be covered was how to activate 911 services (87%). The item least likely to be discussed was information on emergency shelter registration and emergency specialty transportation (44%). When compared to the low risk group, HBPC patients in the high/medium risk group were more likely to receive preparedness education materials for 6 of the 9 educational preparedness items (P values less than 0.05).
Practitioners are relaying preparedness education to their most vulnerable patients, suggesting that home health agencies can provide disaster preparedness in the home. Nonetheless, there is room for improvement. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:547-554)
Health agencies working with the homebound play a vital role in bolstering a community’s resiliency by improving the preparedness of this vulnerable population. Nevertheless, this role is one for which agencies lack training and resources, which leaves many homebound at heightened risk. This study examined the utility of an evidence-based Disaster Preparedness Toolkit in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC) programs.
We conducted an online survey of all VHA HBPC program managers (N=77/146; 53% response rate).
Respondents with fewer years with the HBPC program rated the toolkit as being more helpful (P<0.05). Of those who implemented their program’s disaster protocol most frequently, two-thirds strongly agreed that the toolkit was relevant. Conversely, of those who implemented their disaster protocols very infrequently or never, 23% strongly agreed that the topics covered in the toolkit were relevant to their work (P<0.05).
This toolkit helps support programs as they fulfill their preparedness requirements, especially practitioners who are new to their position in HBPC. Programs that implement disaster protocols infrequently may require additional efforts to increase understanding of the toolkit’s utility. Engaging all members of the team with their diverse clinical expertise could strengthen a patient’s personal preparedness plan. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:56–63)
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