Individual emergency-preparedness efforts: A social justice perspective

Nursing Ethics 27 (1):184-193 (2020)
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Abstract

Background:Since 2010, the United States has experienced 228 disasters, affecting over 86 million people. Because of population shifts, the growing number of people living with chronic conditions or disabilities, and the growing number of older citizens living independently, access and service gaps often exist for those without money or other transferable resources. There is a lack of evidence regarding individual community members’ capacity to prepare for emergencies.Research objective:The purpose of this study is to highlight participant experiences in becoming better prepared for emergencies and provide insight from a social justice perspective.Research design:This is a descriptive qualitative study, staying very close to the data as an end product rather than a beginning for interpretation.Participants and research context:A total of 13 low-income, uninsured, or under-insured attendees at a medical outreach clinic were interviewed.Ethical considerations:Institutional Review Board approval was obtained from the University of Texas at Tyler.Findings:Four themes emerged from the interview data: (a) evaluation of the emergency-preparedness education, (b) making emergency plans, (c) challenges in preparing for emergencies, and (d) facilitators of emergency preparedness.Discussion:Identifying the potential challenges to individual emergency preparedness among vulnerable populations is the first step in overcoming them. The capacity to comply with such measures, especially the ability of those with limited incomes and other vulnerable populations, must be considered.Conclusion:Synchronized, well-ordered assistance will close gaps in recovery and enhance efficiency in pre- and post-event aid. Theoretically, doing so will promote engaged and resilient members of society who are better able to withstand adverse events. The importance of the relationship between individual preparedness levels and the resiliency of nations supports the social justice imperative to address the needs of vulnerable populations in the mitigation and planning phase of the emergency management cycle.

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