Date of this Version
University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, Released January 2014
This document is intended to assist Nebraska facilities to meet behavioral health needs of residents in assisted living or long-term care in the event of a disaster or other emergency requiring sheltering in place or evacuation. Disasters are typically chaotic and noisy. This can be overwhelming for residents, caregivers and responders. Facility administrators probably have plans already in place for most emergencies including evacuation and sheltering in place. Practicing the procedures related to implementing these plans will help residents and staff members deal with the chaos of an actual disaster better and could lessen everyone’s anxiety. Having a specific plan in place to address the psychological and emotional consequences that accompany a disaster is equally as important. This is especially true for facilities with residents who are frail or have chronic health conditions. We know from previous disasters that residents of assisted living or long-term care facilities may be at a higher risk for developing psychological reactions to the disaster due to their pre-existing conditions. Although not all problems can be prevented, they may be less severe or more manageable when facilities have good plans in place to minimize them.