UT Tyler

Medical Needs Shelter

About Us

The shelter at The University of Texas at Tyler Herrington Patriot Center was opened to post disaster evacuees of New Orleans in the days immediately following Hurricane Katrina. University student, faculty and staff volunteers worked with the American Red Cross and community volunteers to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and counseling for evacuees who found themselves homeless in the aftermath of Katrina.

The UT-Tyler College of Nursing and Health Sciences became very involved in the disaster sheltering efforts, and since Katrina have volunteered during hurricanes Rita, Gustav and Ike. The Herrington Patriot Center was designated as a Medical Special Needs Shelter during Hurricane Gustav. During this time, the head of the Center for Disease Control toured the shelter and complimented our efforts. After Hurricane Gustav, faculty in the College of Nursing made great strides in analyzing the specific needs and challenges faced when providing mass shelter care for those with medical special needs. One of the most frequently identified needs of those volunteering in a Medical Special Needs Shelter was the lack of an organized and consistent approach to orientation. This Just-in-Time online training was created to fill that gap.

The Just-in-Time online training was researched and developed by the College of Nursing faculty and staff with the assistance of the University’s Office of Instructional Design. It is our desire to provide orientation for our own volunteers and insight and orientation to volunteers in other communities that might be called to shelter Medical Special Needs guests.

We would like to express our appreciation to Hospital Preparedness Program, Regional Advisory Council TSA G, Tyler, Texas for providing the funds to develop this online training program.

We hope that you will find this training helpful and that it will entice you to become involved with a Medical Special Needs Shelter. In addition to this training, the faculty have published several articles about sheltering those with special needs that you might find helpful. Though the work is physically demanding, the emotional, professional and psychological rewards of participating in these events are immeasurable.

Deal, B., Alfred, D., Fountain, R., Ford, T., & Chilton, J. (2010). Educational opportunities: A nursing school model for medical special needs sheltering. Nurse Educator. (May-June 2010 Issue).

Deal, B. J., Fountain, R. A., Russell-Broaddus, C. A., & Stanley-Hermanns, M. (2006). Challenges and opportunities of nursing care in special-needs shelters. Disaster Management Response, 4. 100-105.

Missildine, K., Varnell, G., Williams, J., Grover, K. H., Ballard, N., & Stanley-Hermanns, M. (2009). Comfort in the eye of the storm: A survey of evacuees with special medical needs. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 35(6). 515-20.

UT Tyler