Tornado wreckage disaster respond i Stock 185266269

NACCHO Report Highlights Ways to Meet the Needs of At-Risk Populations in a Disaster While Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jun 16, 2020 | Theresa Spinner

Washington, DC, June 16, 2020The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the voice of the country’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, has re-released a report offering lessons learned and promising practices to meet the needs of at-risk populations before, during, and after disaster response. The report, produced in collaboration with Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), can help inform communities as they prepare for hurricane season, coupled with the ongoing response to COVID-19.

The report’s findings are from a workshop convened in 2016 with Home and Community-Based Service (HCBS) providers and local health departments impacted by Hurricane Sandy. It offers several findings that will help to ensure the well-being of these populations during this unprecedented time and will help local health departments better understand how to effectively work with HCBS organizations locally.

For at-risk populations, those with access and functional needs including people with disabilities, older adults, and individuals with chronic or temporary medical conditions ­ HCBS providers offer needed services in their own home or community. That means that effective preparedness planning for natural and man-made disasters requires continuity of HCBS organizations to ensure the health and well-being of these at-risk individuals.

Hurricane Sandy exacerbated underlying social determinants of health, including poverty and access to healthcare, and HCBS clients faced significant

challenges navigating the bureaucracy of the disaster recovery process. A theme throughout the workshop was the importance of building healthy and resilient communities through preparedness activities. Individuals who had support from family, friends, neighbors, or other community members were better able to access social and medical services and disaster recovery resources such as programs for temporary shelter/housing, repairing, or rebuilding housing, and behavioral health services.

Lessons learned to support HCBS organizations in their service delivery include:

Communications

  • Consider alternate communications channels to staff and clients including text messaging, social media, and website posts. Determine approaches for hearing and vision impaired individuals.
  • Use door-to-door assessments to locate and confirm the safety of clients unreachable through alternative methods.
  • Maintain and secure a centralized database, such as a local/state registry of clients.

Staffing

  • Anticipate possible staffing shortages; encourage flexibility in staffing assignments and employee cross-training.
  • Consider flexible schedules during a disaster.
  • Develop job aid tools for essential tasks to enable alternate staff to backfill and ensure continuity of services.
  • Ensure behavioral health services and implement ongoing worker safety and emergency preparedness training to ensure greater workforce resilience.

Transportation

  • Reassign staff to provide immediate services in their home neighborhoods or from alternate locations in the event of suspension or closure of public transit. Use passenger vans to shuttle staff to and from work sites.
  • Work with local emergency managers before an emergency to ensure HCBS provider staff are considered essential and able to travel to client locations to ensure continuity of care.

For more details from the report, see the Preparedness Brief blog post here.

###

About NACCHO
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.


National association of county and city health officials naccho squarelogo

About Theresa Spinner

Theresa Spinner is the Director, Media and Public Relations at NACCHO.

More posts by Theresa Spinner

Related Posts

Tracie 696x696
  • COVID-19
  • Tools & Resources
  • Emergency Response

Alternate Care Site Toolkit

ASPR TRACIE has released an updated Alternate Care Site Toolkit to help address...

Jul 02, 2020 | Beth Hess

Alternate Care Site Toolkit

Webinar
  • COVID-19
  • Webinar
  • Emergency Response

Webinar: Communicating in a Nuclear Disaster:...

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), in...

Jun 29, 2020 | Beth Hess

Webinar: Communicating in a Nuclear Disaster:...

Vaccine
  • Immunization
  • Influenza
  • Recommendations

HHS Releases the National Influenza Vaccine...

The U.S. Department of Human Health Services (HHS) released its National...

Jun 24, 2020 | Kimberly Sharpe-Scott

HHS Releases the National Influenza Vaccine...

Fema logo blue medium
  • COVID-19
  • Tools & Resources
  • Emergency Response

Preparedness in a Pandemic Exercise Starter Kit

FEMA has released a Preparedness in a Pandemic Exercise Starter Kit to help...

Jun 23, 2020 | Beth Hess

Preparedness in a Pandemic Exercise Starter Kit

Toolbox Hands 1
  • Tools & Resources

Ten New Preparedness Tools Added to Toolbox

Ten new preparedness tools have recently been added to the NACCHO toolbox....

Jun 18, 2020 | Beth Hess

Ten New Preparedness Tools Added to Toolbox

Flooded street
  • COVID-19
  • Tools & Resources
  • Emergency Response
  • Health & Disability

Report Highlights Lessons Learned and Promising...

As communities prepare for the start of hurricane season coupled with ongoing...

Jun 16, 2020 | Beth Hess

Report Highlights Lessons Learned and Promising...

Tracie 696x696
  • COVID-19
  • Tools & Resources
  • Rural Health

Rural Health and COVID-19

ASPR TRACIE has released a quick sheet which identifies challenges faced by...

Jun 15, 2020 | Beth Hess

Rural Health and COVID-19

  • COVID-19
  • Emergency Response
  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious Disease

COVID-19 Resources for Local Health Departments (June...

This blog highlights COVID-19 guidance/news, tools and resources, and training...

Jun 12, 2020 | Kim Rodgers

COVID-19 Resources for Local Health Departments (June...

Coverfig
  • Emergency Response
  • Infectious Disease

Plague and Bioterrorism Preparedness

Plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, continues to cause disruptive...

Jun 08, 2020 | Beth Hess

Plague and Bioterrorism Preparedness

Back to Top