What Can Chronically Ill Patients Do to Brace for Natural Disasters?
The Landscape of Chronic Conditions in the U.S.
- Ischemic heart disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Heart failure
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Around-the-clock care by a family member or licensed professional, depending on severity of diagnosis
- Frequent monitoring of vital signs and symptoms
- Medication taken with specific foods multiple times a day
- Frequent trips to specialists or primary care providers
- Equipment for monitoring or aiding bodily functions
The Impact of Natural Disasters
- Limited access to medical providers or medication for emergency prescriptions
- Disruption of care continuity when clinics close due to water and electrical damage
- Reduced mobility when carrying medical equipment like oxygen tanks
- Displacement from homes when individuals are forced to evacuate their residences
Preparing for an Emergency
- Maintain a 10-day supply of all necessary medications.
- Wear a bracelet that helps first responders identify an individual with a chronic condition or specific care requirement.
- Organize a supply of emergency food, battery-operated flashlights and a change of clothes.
- Have devices at home that monitor vital signs and changes in physical health.
- Ensure family members and close neighbors know how to administer care.
- Develop an evacuation plan, including identifying stable buildings in the community for shelter.
- Sign up for community warning systems for weather alerts.
- Organize communication with family members in the event of lost power.
- Create an updated list of emergency phone numbers for providers and medical facilities, and keep the list somewhere accessible.