Poor outcomes linked to severe weather

Share this content:
Long-term care residents who are displaced from their facility following a natural disaster are more susceptible to illness, injury and death, new study results show.

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 for all the participants the day of the storm, and then three times a week for two weeks until they returned to their original facility.

“Older adults often have visual and hearing deficits, making it more difficult to interpret their environments and precipitating increased stress,” said lead author Pamela Cacchione, Ph.D. “This stress can also exacerbate chronic illnesses, further precipitating delirium. Unexpected relocation often leads to poor outcomes for nursing home residents.”

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 appeared in the September issue of the Journal of Gerontological Nursing.