Emergency Preparedness and Personal Evacuation Planning: Involvement of Occupational Therapists
Emergency management; Disaster drills
Disaster and emergency events are common occurrences and the skills necessary to respond to these incidents appear to fall within the scope of practice of occupational therapy (OT). This survey explored the format, methods and content, and frequency with which U.S. home health occupational therapists address two topics: emergency preparedness and personal evacuation planning with clients and caregivers, as well as their views of its place within the scope of OT practice. From 250 mailed recipients, 88 usable questionnaires were received for an adjusted response rate of 38.3%. Of the respondents, 85.2% were found to address either or both of these two topics with their clients, though the majority only did so with up to a quarter of their clients. The majority of respondents, 53.4%, addressed emergency preparedness by discussing medical alert programs and 79.5% addressed personal evacuation planning through the reduction of home hazards. Statistically significant relationships were found between the presence of other medical professionals for collaboration and both the percentage of clients who receive interventions addressing emergency preparedness (x2(4, N = 80) = 35.517, p < .001) and personal evacuation planning (x2(4, N = 80) = 26.867, p < .001). Common reasons for not addressing emergency preparedness were that it was not considered a priority or that there were policy limitations on their practice. Still respondents considered emergency preparedness to fall within the scope of OT. As OT literature has focused upon disaster recovery, these responses indicate a need for increased research regarding OT and pre-disaster roles.
Date of Completion
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT)
Date of Award
University of Puget Sound