Date of Graduation

Fall 12-11-2020

Document Type

Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Program

Family Nurse Practitioner

First Advisor

Nancy Selix, DNP, FNP-C, CNM, CNL

Second Advisor

Elena Capella, EdD, MSN/MPA, RN, CNL, CPHQ, LNCC

Abstract

Problem: Natural and man-made disasters happen in all communities and negatively impact the health and safety of populations. Vulnerable populations, such as older adults with comorbidities and disabilities or those aging in place, face greater challenges and have specific needs when faced with disasters. The physical, psychosocial, and cultural characteristics of older adults place them at greater risk during disasters. Emergency preparedness is necessary to build and improve community resilience, as well as to ensure older adults aging in place have the necessary supplies and support to respond to a disaster. Without a proper action plan, recovery efforts during disaster response for this targeted population can exacerbate disparities. A collaborative effort is needed to build community resilience to withstand and recover from disasters.

Context: Global climate change has and is affecting the San Francisco Bay Area. The Neighborhood Empowerment Network is a cohort of organizations focused on positioning communities around San Francisco to be resilient during any time of stress. The organization provides numerous resources and programs to community leaders to improve the quality of life among their neighborhoods. Disaster preparedness resources, such as a shelter-in-place assessment, are tools necessary for community leaders to build and implement plans to care for their community before, during, and after a disaster.

Intervention: The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student developed and introduced a disaster toolkit into practice to help community leaders implement and improve current disaster preparation and management action plans. Video interviews were conducted with leaders who were experienced and knowledgeable on the health needs of older adults aging in place. A toolkit was created based on a review of the literature and best practice recommendations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions, the implementation of the toolkit and training for Neighborhood Empowerment Network Block Champions was deferred to a future date. Subsequently, the project was implemented with graduate students and healthcare clinicians.

Outcome Measures: Outcome measures included pre-and post-surveys to evaluate the change in disaster preparedness knowledge for older adults.

Results: Data analysis revealed an increase in overall knowledge and confidence regarding disaster preparedness for older adults among participants after reviewing the toolkit. Respondents also indicated the toolkit was easy to use, which scored a mean value of 4.83 out of 5 on the Likert Scale, as well as the toolkit provided the necessary strategies and resources to make their community safer and better prepared.

Conclusion: A disaster preparedness toolkit for older adults is an effective strategy to prevent consequences endured during and after an emergency. Enhancing the skills and knowledge of community members can improve community resilience and help communities recover from disasters.

Available for download on Tuesday, December 28, 2021

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