Evaluation of the American Red Cross’s RESPECT Program

The public health issue: Older adults, in particular those with chronic health conditions, impaired physical mobility, or social and economic limitations, face increased challenges in their ability to prepare for and respond to disasters. Recognizing the vulnerabilities of older adults during disasters, the American Red Cross developed a disaster education program specifically tailored to meet the needs of older adults, titled Reaching Elders and Seniors with Preparedness Education, Concepts and Tools (RESPECT).

Our contribution to the client: At the request of the American Red Cross, the Research & Evaluation Group at PHMC evaluated the RESPECT program. The team conducted focus groups with older adults who participated in the program and key informant interviews with both staff from the Red Cross who work on the RESPECT program and staff who manage older adult day centers. The focus groups and interviews proved that after participating in the program, older adults felt more confident that they knew what to do during a disaster, felt more prepared to face unexpected disasters at home, and increased their knowledge about how to prepare for a disaster. As a result of the evaluation, the Red Cross program revised its curriculum. Additionally, positive findings from the evaluation supported the Red Cross to expand RESPECT into Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Read more information about the RESPECT program.