Dr. Kathryn Hyer and three other experts testified at a hearing titled “Disaster Preparedness and Response: The Special Needs of Older Americans.” Dr. Hyer cited her funding from The John A. Hartford Foundation in her testimony.
The purpose of the hearing was to review what has been learned from past experience and what more can be done to ensure the health, safety, and resilience of older Americans during and after disasters, such as hurricanes.
Dr. Hyer gave eight recommendations to the committee to improve outcomes for these older adults. Among them were calls for generators and fuel to support air conditioning and other medical needs; better education about emergency plans; more disaster preparedness oversight in assisted living communities; more research on what types of patients will benefit from evacuation or sheltering in place; construction of facilities in places that minimize flooding risk; identification of and prioritization for nursing homes and assisted living communities by state and local management organizations; litigation protection for facilities that abide by regulations and provide care during disaster scenarios; and continued commitment to geriatric education programs.
Dr. Hyer's testimony included as reference a Health Affairs paper she co-authored with Lisa M. Brown, LuMarie Polivka-West, and John A. Hartford Foundation's senior program officer, Amy Berman, "Helping Nursing Homes Prepare for Disasters."
To listen to the Hearing and to download the testimony, click here.