Homebound seniors in Galveston County are at an increased risk for morbidity and mortality associated with severe natural disasters such as hurricanes. The State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR) provides local emergency planners information on citizens who may require emergency assistance during a disaster, such as help with evacuation before and after a hurricane. In April 2022, Galveston County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) reported only 33 residents registered for STEAR of an estimated 6,509 homebound persons over 65 years of age in Galveston County. The goal of this quality improvement project was to increase the number of Galveston County residents registered on the STEAR program by 20% during June 2022 to November 2022. Nurse practitioners and students provided education on hurricane preparedness to 118 older adults at 4 senior community centers in May through June 2022. Geriatric house call NPs conducted routine house call visits including hurricane preparation education to 115 homebound seniors. Education included registration process, evacuation planning, medication, and emergency contact list and provided a sample hurricane supply emergency kit. NPs raised funds to supply sample hurricane emergency kits through bake sales and donations. House call patients received pre- and post-education surveys reviewing STEAR registry and hurricane preparation knowledge. At the conclusion of hurricane season in November 2022, Galveston County OEM reported 108 STEAR registrants for an increase of 227%. The project to improve hurricane preparedness among Galveston County homebound seniors surpassed initial goals for the 2022 hurricane season. Post-survey results 1 month after education reported 35% of housecall patients registered for STEAR with 8.6% more planning to apply. Through additional funding, the project has extended into the 2023 hurricane season.
After completing this learning activity, the participant will be able to assess innovations being used by other professionals in the specialty and evaluate the potential of implementing the improvements into practice.