Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
At-risk individuals are people with access and functional needs that may interfere with their ability to access or receive medical care before, during, or after a disaster or emergency. Irrespective of specific diagnosis, status, or label, the term “access and functional needs” is a broad set of common and cross-cutting access and function-based needs.
The 2013 Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act defines at-risk individuals as children, older adults, pregnant women, and individuals who may need additional response assistance. Examples of these populations may include but are not limited to individuals with disabilities, individuals who live in institutional settings, individuals from diverse cultures, individuals who have limited English proficiency or are non-English speaking, individuals who are transportation disadvantaged, individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals who have chronic medical disorders, and individuals who have pharmacological dependency.
At-risk individuals may have a number of additional needs that must be considered in planning for, responding to, and recovering from a disaster or emergency. A recommended approach for integrating the access and functional needs of these individuals is the CMIST Framework as follows:
The CMIST Framework provides a flexible, cross-cutting approach to defining at-risk individuals to address a broad set of common access and functional needs irrespective of specific diagnoses, status, or labels (e.g., pregnant women, children, elderly). Ultimately, individuals with access and functional needs must be addressed in all federal, territorial, tribal, state, and local emergency and disaster plans.
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