Title page for ETD etd-09162011-151909

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Cullen, Holly Houk
URN etd-09162011-151909
Title An Evaluation of Post-Katrina Emergency Preparedness Strategies in Hospitals on the U.S. Gulf of Mexico Coastline
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Machtmes, Krisanna Committee Chair
Johnson, Earl Committee Member
Verma, Satish Committee Member
Wolshon, Brian Committee Member
Kelley, Mary Dean's Representative
  • patient tracking
  • evacuation
  • hospital hurricane preparedness
  • hospital hurricane plans
  • hospital emergency preparedness
  • hospital emergency strategies
  • hospital emergency best practices
Date of Defense 2011-08-31
Availability unrestricted
Recent tragedies are causing hospitals to more intensively review their strategies and broaden their approach to emergency preparation. The Gulf Coast storms of 2005 and 2008 and other catastrophic events nationwide have illustrated the central role hospitals can and should play in a community’s disaster recovery infrastructure.

Given the unpredictability of the world today, with the possibility of a mass casualty crisis constantly threatening, there is an urgent need to seek and achieve higher levels of readiness. If a hospital organization is not investing in emergency preparedness on a continuous basis, that facility and its community are placed at higher risk.

After bearing the brunt of several major, damaging storms for the past five years, hospitals along the coast in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas have heightened their involvement in their own and their communities’ recoveries, rebuilding their respective facilities and human resources so they can offer quality healthcare services to their communities.

This study sought to answer the following research question: What strategies are hospitals in coastal Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas using in their emergency preparedness plans five years since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to facilitate their ability to respond more effectively under crisis conditions and to maintain critical patient care operations?

The researcher took an in-depth look at the many lessons learned by nine Gulf Coast region hospitals during their experiences with Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike by interviewing hospital administrators and emergency preparedness personnel. These interactions revealed strategies that the hospitals have implemented and what has yet to be done. Study participants provided an evaluation of their emergency policies and plans, practices and implementation as well as improvements, evacuation versus shelter-in-place strategies, training and drills, supplies, reimbursement, communication and human resource issues. The study sought to identify trends and best practices being used by coastal healthcare facilities and to determine which of these have been put into practice. Finally, the study identified opportunities for future research in hospital emergency preparedness.

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