Disaster-Driven Evacuation and Medication Loss: a Systematic Literature Review

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A considerable number of patients lose their medication and medical devices during evacuation and people with chronic conditions are most at risk when their medication is not available. Understanding the impact of medication loss may lead to raising awareness and better preparations among patients and health care professionals.

This systematic review aimed to identify the extent and implications of medication loss and the burden of prescription refill on medical relief teams following extreme weather events and other natural hazards. A total of 70 articles were included which reported events from nine countries. Windstorms were the most prevalent extreme event with 14 hurricanes, typhoons or cyclones analyzed. Impacts from Hurricane Katrina (2005) were reported in 29 articles. Medication refill is a significant and urgent health need, made especially challenging because patients commonly do not have access to their medical records including allergy to medications. Patient preparedness (such as having an emergency pack including a stockpile of medicine and medicine records) could be achieved through increased education and help from professionals in establishing effective emergency planning.

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