Evacuation and medication use: are people prepared to evacuate with their meds?

  • P. Repetto
  • e. guic
  • n. bronfman


Background: Patients with medical conditions may not continue their medical treatment as a result of a disaster and particularly if they need to evacuate. This can be particularly challenging when the time between the warning and the evacuation is brief, and when people are not prepared. In the present study, we explored whether adults did evacuate with medications for chronic conditions and the role of different psychosocial factors. Methods: Study was conducted between 2-3 months after the Pisagua Earthquake that hit the north of Chile on april, 2014. Participants were a representative sample of 701 adults (58.3% females, age 18-95, mean age= 40.59, 62.3% employed), living in Iquique or Alto Hospicio, who completed a survey applied by trained interviewers. For this study we included only those who evacudate (351) and evaluated the following variables: exposure to the event, worry, risk perception, secondary stressors, preparation to cope with these events, and if they evacuated with medication for a chronic condition. Findings: 117 reported taking the required medication when they evacuated. Using a logistic regression analyses we found that they were: older (OR=1.025), those more prepared (OR=8.759), and who reported greater worries about their health as a consequence of being exposed to this event (OR= 1.32). Discussion: Findings show the role of worry and preparation in taking medications when evacuating, and reveal the need to prepare individuals in order to take their medications with them. This is a key behavior that may prevent other health consequences associated with the exposure to disasters.
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