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Health Care Student Perceptions of Societal Vulnerability to Disasters in the Context of Population Aging

Lucas, PV ORCID: 0000-0001-6949-9207, Annear, M ORCID: 0000-0003-4474-2543, Harris, W ORCID: 0000-0001-8864-7228, Eyles, H ORCID: 0000-0003-3153-9183 and Rotheram, A ORCID: 0000-0002-8488-1719 2018 , 'Health Care Student Perceptions of Societal Vulnerability to Disasters in the Context of Population Aging' , Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness , doi: 10.1017/dmp.2018.65.

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Objective: This paper reports on undergraduate health care students’ perception of societal vulnerabilityto disasters in the context of population aging. Forecast increases in extreme weather events are likely tohave a particularly devastating effect on older members of the community.Methods: Undergraduate paramedicine and nursing students were surveyed using the Perceptions ofAgeing and Disaster Vulnerability Scale (PADVS) to determine their views on the risks posed to oldermembers of the community by disasters. Data analysis included a comparison of subscales relating toisolation, health system readiness, declining function, and community inclusiveness.Results: Students reported a moderate level of concern about disaster vulnerability. Students who hadpreviously completed another university degree reported significantly higher levels of concern thanthose without a prior degree. Australian students reported lower concern about societal vulnerabilitycompared to a previously reported cohort of Japanese students.Conclusion: Our study suggests current education of future health care students does not promoteadequate levels of awareness of the health-related challenges posed by disasters, particularly amongolder members of the community. Without addressing this gap in education, the risk of negativeoutcomes for both unprepared first responders and older members of the community is significant.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Lucas, PV and Annear, M and Harris, W and Eyles, H and Rotheram, A
Keywords: disasters, extreme weather events, health care students, population aging, vulnerability
Journal or Publication Title: Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1938-744X
DOI / ID Number: 10.1017/dmp.2018.65
Copyright Information:

© 2018 Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc.

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