Natural disasters make illness more likely for LTC residents, study finds

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Natural disasters make illness more likely for LTC residents, study finds
Natural disasters make illness more likely for LTC residents, study finds
Long-term care residents that are displaced from their facility following a natural disaster are more susceptible to illness, injury and death, a new study finds.

Investigators at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing tracked 17 LTC residents who were evacuated after a severe storm. The researchers conducted tests measuring orientation, language, attention and recall on all the participants the day of the storm, and then three times a week for two weeks until they went back to their original facility. They found that the residents did poorly in these first two weeks after being evacuated, with more than half experiencing delirium and two needing to be hospitalized.

"Unexpected relocation often leads to poor outcomes for nursing home residents,” said lead author Pamela Cacchione, Ph.D. “Basic physical care, ongoing assessment of chronic conditions, medication management, the return to familiar surroundings and the return of valued objects should be facilitated as soon as possible."

The study was published in the September issue of the Journal of Gerontological Nursing.