Natural disasters cause challenges for healthcare organizations because of circumstances such as limited communication, restricted transportation, and the emotional toll of the devastation. For oncology nurses and providers, disasters present unique challenges, like maintaining chemotherapy treatment schedules and adhering to research protocols for clinical trial participants. To ensure continuity of care, nurses can provide patients with critical medical information that will be needed if they are displaced, use electronic health records, maintain current copies of patient contact lists and treatment schedules, and stock up on supplies and medications.
AT A GLANCE
- Common challenges following natural disasters include limited communication, restricted transportation, and increased psychological distress.
- Individuals with chronic illnesses, including cancer, are at greater risk for adverse health outcomes during and following natural disasters.
- For patients on clinical trials, communicating with clinical trial sponsors and working with colleagues in other states to coordinate patient care for displaced and nondisplaced patients are crucial.