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New AHRQ resources can help States and local communities with disaster planning and response involving nursing homes

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released Emergency Preparedness Atlas: U.S. Nursing Home and Hospital Facilities, which is intended to help local communities identify the health care facilities (hospitals and nursing homes) that could be available and prepared to provide assistance under emergency conditions in their communities.

The Emergency Preparedness Atlas includes six case studies of North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, southern California, Washington, and Utah. Each provides a series of maps showing the locations and capacity of nursing homes and hospitals as well as their geographic relationship to a variety of emergency management and bioterrorism preparedness regions, such as Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) response regions, emergency management regions, and Red Cross chapters.

The Atlas includes maps for all 50 States with the location of hospitals and nursing homes in each State, and it displays the locations relative to the distribution of the elderly population in the case study States.

Also published with the Atlas is a report, Nursing Homes in Public Health Emergencies, which presents the results of a series of focus groups convened to collect information about disaster- and bioterrorism-related planning activities among nursing homes in the same six States used in the Atlas case study series. The report addresses the roles that nursing homes could play in regional preparedness, for example arranging with hospitals to transfer their less-critically ill or recovering patients to nursing homes.

Emergency Preparedness Atlas: U.S. Nursing Home and Hospital Facilities (AHRQ Publication No. 07-0029-2) and Nursing Homes in Public Health Emergencies (AHRQ Publication No. 07-0029-1) were developed for AHRQ under contract with RTI International. Both can be found online at and or ordered directly from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

Editor's Note: AHRQ has funded more than 60 emergency preparedness-related studies, workshops, and conferences to help hospitals and health care systems prepare for public health emergencies. More information about these projects can be found online at

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