Evacuation Decision Making and Expanded Roles of Adult Daycare Services in the Great East Japan Earthquake: Qualitative Analysis Using Semistructured Interviews

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Abstract

Context:

The roles of adult daycare services during disaster evacuations in the relationships with community resilience are unknown. The initial 72 hours after a disaster are crucial because people in the disaster area depend on their own efforts or the resources available at the moment until the arrival of external support.

Objective:

To clarify the evacuation-related decision making of the administrators of adult daycare services within 72 hours after the Great East Japan Earthquake and to describe the roles of adult daycare services during the month following the earthquake.

Design:

Qualitative study using semistructured interviews. The transcribed interviews were analyzed anonymously through an inductive qualitative content analysis using ATLAS.ti.

Setting:

Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture.

Participants:

Eleven key informants (3 primary care providers and 8 administrators) from 8 institutions.

Results:

Immediately after the disaster, 6 institutions implemented shelter-in-place. The evacuation behaviors of the adult daycare institutions were diverse, but each institution was transformed repeatedly within 72 hours. With respect to evacuation decision making, the primary issues involved whether to go to mandatory evacuation sites. However, after 3 days, the institutions relocated from these sites to other places. During a period of approximately 1 month, 7 institutions managed the evacuation of service users and care providers. The expanded institutional roles were as follows: “confirming the safety of the users' families,” “substituting residential facilities,” and “imposing leadership during the evacuation.”

Conclusions:

If institutions choose to shelter-in-place, it should be sustained for as long as possible. Sufficiently planned stores of food and water to accommodate daytime users are needed. Institutions that employ shelter-in-place as an evacuation plan should maintain close contact with local governments. Furthermore, local governments should predetermine how to manage these institutions in the event of a disaster. To build community resilience for disasters, developing linkage with private organizations' resilience is beneficial.

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