Disaster Planning, Preparedness, & Response for Rural Long-Term Care Providers

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2018
Project completed:
December 2020

Little recent work has focused on how rural long-term care providers plan for and respond to the increased incidence and severity of both natural and man-made disasters. This project pilot tested a provider survey and collected detailed case-study data that captures how recent disasters affect rural long-term care services and patient experiences.

The growing proportion of older adults in the U.S. population, including rural communities, is a well-documented concern, with implications for many aspects of health and healthcare. The differential impacts of disasters on rural communities, and these communities limited capacity to meet the long-term care services and support needs of local residents, are important problems that needs further study. There is a gap in understanding how rural, long-term care providers plan for and respond to man-made and natural disasters. This was an observational study design. Investigators used survey, document review, and focus group methods for primary data collection and analysis. Project goals were met through two synchronous research activities to collect data from areas impacted by recent severe disasters such as the Tubbs Fire and Hurricane Harvey.

The study team developed and pilot tested a survey for rural long-term care providers (nursing home, hospice, assisted living, and home health entities) located in communities that have experienced one or more recent disasters (2015-2018) and conducted case studies of disaster-impacted rural communities to specifically identify implications for local long-term care services.


  • Long-Term Care Planning, Preparedness, and Response Among Rural Long-Term Care Providers
    Journal Article
    Southwest Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 09/2020
    This manuscript explores how rural long-term care providers plan, prepare, and respond to slowly or rapidly unfolding disasters (i.e., hurricanes, wildfires, and environmental spills) in three U.S. geographic areas. Data includes secondary sources and semi-constructed interviews with long-term care facilities and disaster management organizations.