Objective: Older persons have levels of frailty and disability that place them at far greater risk of harm in disasters than younger adults, making it crucial for all agency planners, public health workers, and health care providers to be aware of age-appropriate considerations of preparedness and response. This research evaluated the knowledge and utilization intentions of participants of a geriatric emergency preparedness and response (GEPR) continuing education program that was designed to provide this training.
Methods: A qualitative training evaluation was conducted using course evaluation questionnaires from GEPR workshops offered in 2009 in 7 nationwide cities through a partnership of the University of Texas Center for Biosecurity and Public Health Preparedness with the Texas Consortium Geriatric Education Center at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.
Results: Evaluations were completed by 292 participants. Respondents were able to name specific information learned, give examples of applications of the material, and devise plans for further action. Participants believed that their ability to do their jobs had increased, and they provided insightful suggestions instructive to both trainers and to leaders of health care organizations.
Conclusions: The results of the evaluation suggest that GEPR workshops are effective in increasing the knowledge of participants and their intentions to use it. There is both a need and a demand for this training. Developers and trainers should provide participants with sufficient time for absorbing the information, consider tailoring the training to the local context, and provide opportunity for practical application, particularly planning exercises.
(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2012;6:385-392)