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Individuals With Chronic Health Care Needs

Armen Hareyan's picture

Chronic Health Care

Individuals with chronic illnesses must consider how a public health crisis might affect their well-being.

Chronic health conditions such as, diabetes, cancer, asthma and high blood pressure often require routine medical treatments or medication on a daily basis. A preparedness poll conducted by the American Public Health Association1 found that while 90% of adults with chronic medical conditions take medication a few times per week, only 19% have a one-month supply on hand in case pharmacies close during a national crisis. Further, 38% stated they would run out of medication in one week or less. This is of great concern given almost 4 out of 10 of those with chronic illnesses reported it would be a very serious problem' if drug stores and pharmacies closed during a public health emergency.

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Of individuals with chronic illnesses that need to visit health care facilities on a regular basis for treatments such as, kidney dialysis, 49% stated it would be a 'very serious problem' if doctors' offices, hospitals and health clinics closed. Low levels of preparedness among individuals with chronic health needs could present a real challenge if a public health disaster or emergency strikes. Forty-six percent of the adults with chronic illnesses stated they have spent only one hour or less preparing for an emergency and 82% reported they do not wear any type of medical identification to alert health care workers to their conditions.

So what steps should individuals with chronic illnesses take to prepare for a public health emergency? Following are a series of questions that can be answered to help create a plan that fits with their unique health care needs:

Step 1: Do you have an emergency supply of essential medications in the event you can't get them from a pharmacy?