Hurricane preps for special needs patients


It is a reality for those of us who live in South Louisiana – hurricanes and floods happen all too often. Patients with brain and spinal cord injuries or other functional challenges need to have an emergency preparedness plan.

“Patients and their caregivers need to have a preset plan and remember that no matter how much we prepare, it may not go the way you thought it would. Learn from it,” said Culicchia Neurological’s Physical and Rehabilitation Physician Andrea Toomer. Dr. Toomer takes great care to stress to her patients receiving intrathecal baclofen therapy that advance planning is extremely important to ensure that the pump administering the medication never runs out.

Everyone with a disability is going to be impacted to a greater level in an emergency situation. It is important to be prepared, to think ahead, anticipate problems and ways to solve them. A good place to start is by assembling a kit and making a checklist.

Shelters may not have trained personnel who can help a physically impaired person. “You should count on bringing everything you need, whether it is a bedside commode or special slide board or shower chair. Spinal cord patients need to include equipment for their bowel and bladder needs and temperature regulation issues,” Dr. Toomer suggests. When considering whether to evacuate, think about the possibility of not having electricity for long periods of time and how that impacts your needs.

Patients with special needs should register with their parish for updates and information during an emergency.
Nola Special Needs Registry
Jefferson Parish Assisted Evacuation Assessment Information 

Culicchia Neurological Clinic New Orleans Trauma