Vulnerable Populations in an American Red Cross Shelter After Hurricane Katrina

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During Katrina, people suddenly encountered multiple losses, including homes, finances, medications, and death of loved ones. The Model of Vulnerable Populations illustrates how reduced resources placed individuals at greater risk for harm.


Using vignettes and the Model of Vulnerable Populations, a psychiatric nurse discusses her experiences as an American Red Cross psychiatric/mental health nurse volunteer after the Katrina disaster at a Mississippi shelter.


The role of the mental health nurse volunteer was demonstrated by assessment and interventions of advocacy, referral, crisis intervention, and general support and education.


Using the Model of Vulnerable Populations, psychiatric nurses can improve mental health assessment and services by counseling, advocacy, triage, and teaching disease prevention strategies such as hand washing.

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