Issues in Nursing Home Evacuations

August 1991 (VOL. 9, NO. 2)

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The issue of planning for evacuations of nursing homes and related health care facilities concerns both emergency planners and disaster researchers who cite the lack of empirical data on the problems of special populations during emergency evacuations. Although most evacuations of such facilities are carried out successfully, the effectiveness of an evacuation (as measured by time to evacuate) is limited by certain constraints. This study examines selected organizational characteristics of nursing homes and related health care facilities which experienced either a partial or complete evacuation of their facilities. Among the factors affecting facility evacuations are resources, the type and number of clientele, and community characteristics such as population density. Although the issues are related to general evacuation concerns, the findings suggest that individuals within specialized populations are unlike other victims of disaster with particular needs that require different management strategies to expedite an evacuation efficiently.