Recent public health disasters, both nationally and internationally, have underscored the importance of preparedness in effectively responding to these events. Within the home health care sector, preparedness is especially critical, as home care patients may be at increased risk of disaster-related morbidity and mortality because of their age, disability, or other vulnerability. Importantly, the home health care population is growing, with an estimated 7 million patients currently receiving home health care services. Yet the degree of preparedness at all levels of the home care sector (agency, health care worker, and patient and/or family) is largely unknown. Without this knowledge, important first steps toward development and implementation designed to address barriers to preparedness cannot be taken. To help address some of these knowledge gaps, one aspect of preparedness, namely the willingness of home health care workers to respond during an avian influenza outbreak, was recently examined. Findings revealed very low levels of willingness. Preliminary recommendations designed to address this issue are presented following a general discussion of the issue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Leadership and Management
- Community and Home Care
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health