Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

School of Public Health

First Advisor

Mark Russi

Abstract

There is a gap in the literature regarding whether training in emergency preparedness and response makes a difference in the overall health outcomes of healthcare workers who are responding to and working during a natural disaster. The objective of this study was to investigate whether emergency preparedness training lowers the risk of poor health outcomes as reported by healthcare workers in New York City responding to Hurricane Sandy. A survey created by 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East was conducted between July and August 2014 to capture the health and safety experience of workers during and after Hurricane Sandy. The study population consisted of a convenience sample of 124 healthcare workers from 4 hospitals and 3 nursing homes. Receiving emergency preparedness training before or during the hurricane was not found to be significantly associated with better overall health outcomes (P = 0.795), but males were found to have better health outcomes compared to females (P = 0.002), as did hospital workers compared to nursing home workers (P < 0.001). Workers who received training were 3.57 times less likely to miss days of work during and after the hurricane compared to those who did not receive training (P = 0.014). In addition, individuals who reported being stressed were 2.86 times more likely to miss days of work than individuals who were not stressed. Several characteristics were also shown to increase the reported degree of Hurricane Sandy’s impact upon study participants, including having a job that involved working directly with patients (P = 0.023) or having patient contact without direct care (P = 0.052), working an evening, overnight, or varied shift (P = 0.002), working in a nursing home (P = 0.027), having physical damage to one’s property (P = 0.052), or having problems heating or cooling one’s home (P = 0.001). We conclude that training, as well as the recognition of factors that influence the overall impact of a disaster event upon workers, is critical to an effective disaster plan.

Comments

This is an Open Access Thesis.

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