Community Healthcare Delivery Post-Hurricane Sandy: Lessons from a Mobile Health Unit

Abstract

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy the North Shore LIJ Health System (NS-LIJ HS) organized and launched its first mobile health unit (MHU) operation to some of New York’s hardest hit communities including Queens County and Long Island, NY. This document describes the initiation, operational strategies, outcomes and challenges of the NS-LIJ HS community relief effort using a MHU. The operation was divided into four phases: (1) community needs assessment, (2) MHU preparation, (3) staff recruitment and (4) program evaluation and feedback. From November 16th through March 21st, 2013 the Health System launched the MHU over 64 days serving 1,160 individuals with an age range of 3 months to 91 years. Vaccination requests were the most commonly encountered issue, and the most common complaint was upper respiratory illness. The MHU is an effective resource for delivering healthcare to displaced individuals in the aftermath of natural disaster. Future directions include the provision of psychosocial services, evaluating strategies for timely retreat of the unit and methods for effective transitions of care.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. 1.

    Daiski, I. (2005). The health bus: Healthcare for marginalized populations. Policy Politics Nursing Practice, 6(1), 30–38.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Simsek, Z., Koruk, I., & Doni, N. Y. (2012). An operational study on implementation of mobile primary healthcare services for seasonal migratory farmworkers, Turkey. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 16(9), 1906–1912.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Luque, J. S., & Castañeda, H. (2013). Delivery of mobile clinic services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers: A review of practice models for community-academic partnerships. Journal of Community Health, 38(2), 397–407.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Wray, N. P., Weiss, T. W., Christian, C. E., Menke, T., Ashton, C. M., & Hollingsworth, J. C. (1999). The health status of veterans using mobile clinics in rural areas. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 10(3), 338–348.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Higgins, S. J., Walls, E. A., Fisher, A. G., Smith, D. C., & Humphries, T. J. (1991). The establishment and validation of the mobile immunization team concept at a clinic level. Military Medicine, 156(2), 53–55.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Suhayda, L., Riley, M. A., Roth, L., McDonough, K., Sparico, A., & Clement, L. (1997). Cancer screening in the community: Taking the show on the road. Cancer Practice, 5(2), 105–110.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Swaddiwudhipong, W., Chaovakiratipong, C., Nguntra, P., Tatip, Y., & Boonmak, C. (1999). A mobile unit: An effective service for cervical cancer screening among rural Thai women. International Journal of Epidemiology, 28(1), 35–39.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Rodriguez, K. L., Appelt, C. J., Young, A. J., et al. (2007). African American veterans’ experiences with mobile geriatric care. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 18(1), 44–53.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Oboler, S. K., Blieden, M. A., Carter, S. A., et al. (1983). A mobile internal medicine clinic. Archives of Internal Medicine, 143(1), 97–99.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Krol, D. M., Redlener, M., Shapiro, A., & Wajnberg, A. (2007). A mobile medical care approach targeting underserved populations in post-Hurricane Katrina Mississippi. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 18(2), 331–340.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    International Committee of the Red Cross. (2006, May). Mobile health units: Methodological approach. Retrieved from www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files/other/icrc_002_0886.pdf.

  12. 12.

    Chan, E. Y., & Kim, J. J. (2010). Remote mobile health service utilization post 2005 Kashmir-Pakistan earthquake. European Journal of Emergency Medicine: Official journal of the European Society for Emergency Medicine, 17(3), 158–163.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Taylor, M. M., Stokes, W. S., Bajuscak, R., et al. (2007). Mobilizing mobile medical units for hurricane relief: The United States Public Health Service and Broward County Health Department response to Hurricane Wilma, Broward County, Florida. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 13(5), 447–452.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Brito, Arturo. (2011). Continuing mobile care for Katrina’s children. Pediatrics, 128(Supplement 1), S34–S36.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    National Climatic Data Center. (2012, October). Summary information on post-tropical cyclone Sandy. Retrieved from www.ncdc.noaa.gov/news/summary-information-post-tropical-cyclone-sandy.

  16. 16.

    The New York Times N.Y./Region. (2012, October 29). Assessing the damage from Hurricane Sandy. New York (NY): New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/10/30/nyregion/hurricane-sandys-aftermath.html.

  17. 17.

    Long Island Power Authority. (2012, November 29). Long Island Power Authority Update on Hurricane Sandy. Retrieved from http://www.lipower.org/newscenter/pr/2012/111912-update.html.

  18. 18.

    U.S. Census Bureau. (2013, Jun 27). Fact sheet: Nassau County, NY, 2012 Population Estimate. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36/36059.html.

  19. 19.

    U.S. Census Bureau. (2013, June 27). Fact sheet: Queens County, NY, 2012 Population Estimate. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36/36081.html.

  20. 20.

    U.S. Census Bureau. (2005). Fact sheet: Harrison County, Mississippi, 2005 American Community Survey Total Population. Washington DC: U.S. Census Bureau, 2005. Retrieved from http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_05_EST_B01003&prodType=table.

  21. 21.

    Center for Disease Control. (2007, March). CDC’s disaster planning goal: Protect vulnerable older adults. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/disaster_planning_goal.pdf.

  22. 22.

    Neria, Y., Nandi, A., & Galea, S. (2008). Post-traumatic stress disorder following disasters: A systematic review. Psychological Medicine, 38(4), 467–480.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Sastry, N., & Gregory, J. (2013). The effect of Hurricane Katrina on the prevalence of health impairments and disability among adults in New Orleans: Differences by age, sex and race. Social Science and Medicine, 80, 121–129.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Fussell, E., Sastry, N., & VanLandingham, M. (2010). Race, socioeconomic status, and return migration to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Population and Environment, 31(1–3), 20–42.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Zissimopoulos, J., & Karoly, L. A. (2010). Employment and self-employment in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Demography, 47(2), 345–367.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Neria, Y., & Shultz, J. M. (2012). Mental health effects of Hurricane Sandy: Characteristics, potential aftermath and response. JAMA, 308(24), 2571–2572.

    CAS  PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge Anita Rice, David Saunders and Meghan McDonald for their support and assistance with this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

None.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Cynthia Lien.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lien, C., Raimo, J., Abramowitz, J. et al. Community Healthcare Delivery Post-Hurricane Sandy: Lessons from a Mobile Health Unit. J Community Health 39, 599–605 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-013-9805-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Mobile health unit
  • Healthcare and natural disaster
  • Displaced populations
  • Healthcare delivery and outreach