Patients evacuated from Cairns Base Hospital prior to Cyclone Yasi can share their experience as part of a James Cook University research project designed to inform future hospital disaster management plans.
School of Nursing Senior Research Officer Dr Cindy Woods said the study of the largest hospital evacuation ever undertaken in Australia’s history would fill an important gap in current research on emergency and disaster medicine.
“More than 250 patients were evacuated from Cairns Base and Cairns Private Hospitals in February 2011 when Cyclone Yasi was predicted to cross the coast near Cairns,” she said.
“We’d really like to talk to patients about their experience of the evacuation as I think we can learn a lot from listening to their story.
“They would need to share how much prior warning and information they received about the evacuation, and whether they were able to contact their families and friends to let them know they were being evacuated.
“Their experiences of waiting at the airport, of flying to Brisbane, their time in a Brisbane hospital, and their return to Cairns will all be included in the study.
“This valuable information can guide more efficient and effective planning of emergency and disaster responses to future evacuations which will have health benefits for health workers and hospital patients, as well as financial benefits for healthcare services.
“It is also expected that patients’ personal experiences of a hospital evacuation can positively inform future emergency and disaster planning and practice.”
Dr Woods will be coordinating interviews for participants which can be conducted at the Cairns campus of James Cook University or a venue of their choice at a time and date convenient to both parties. The interviews will take 30 to 45 minutes.
Patients wishing to participate in the study can contact Dr Woods on Ph: 4042 1048 and 4226 6313.
Issued October 16, 2012
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