Primary Care Resources

Patients with chronic disease

Natural disasters can impact on access to healthcare and medications, which can result in deterioration of chronic conditions.



Issues impacting condition Potential outcomes
Serious impact on blood glucose levels due to:

  • Incorrect, damaged or no availability of insulin
  • Physical and mental stress
  • Physical activity
  • Emotional responses of stress, fear, anxiety
  • Hormonal responses of adrenaline, cortisol
  • Inaccessibility to appropriate food and water supplies
  • Hyperglycaemia (in some cases DKA)
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Hypoglycaemia


Issues impacting condition Potential outcomes
Serious risk of contracting communicable disease due to compromised immunity:

  • Poor sanitation
  • Unsafe drinking water
  • Evacuation to a population dense setting
  • Spoiled food
  • Infection

Cardiovascular disease

Issues impacting condition Potential outcomes
Serious risk of severe worsening or complications of condition due to:

  • Limited access to medication
  • Disruption to healthcare services
  • Physical workload associated with clean-up and reconstruction
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Unstable angina
  • Arrhythmia
  • Heart attack

Chronic respiratory disease

Issues impacting condition Potential outcomes
Serious risk of sudden worsening of condition due to:

  • Disruption to equipment (e.g. oxygen and nebulisers) and medications
  • Overcrowding in shelters or temporary accommodation which increases exposure to airborne diseases and allergens
  • Poor sanitation which can increase exposure to airborne mould spores
  • Air pollution can also be a major concern, as can exposed asbestos if considerable damage to buildings
  • Exacerbations of condition
  • Becoming oxygen dependent
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Pneumothorax
  • Increased risk of death within 90 days after a natural disaster

Renal disease

Issues impacting condition Potential outcomes
Serious risk of condition worsening due to:

  • Damage to equipment required to manage condition
  • Lost medications
  • Reduction in healthcare services
  • Compromised water quality
  • Poor sanitation
  • Interrupting/discontinuing dialysis for more than three days is life threatening
  • Essential for transplant recipients (kidney or other organs) to continue anti-rejection medication


Prepare for asthma

In the lead up to late spring and summer, your practice can prepare by keeping a sufficient supply of in-date reliever medication and spacers on site.