Disaster case management and individuals with disabilities. Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: To examine the case management and disaster recovery needs of individuals with disabilities following Hurricane Katrina. The case managers and supervisors in this study provided case management to individuals with disabilities as part of the largest coordinated disaster case management program in U.S. history, the Katrina Aid Today consortium. This study provides an account of the disaster case management needs of individuals with disabilities as well as a picture of their long-term recovery process two years following the disaster. DESIGN: Forty-two case managers and 12 case management supervisors from this program provided services to a collective caseload of 2,047 individuals with disabilities and their families. Interviews and telephone surveys were conducted with these participants 20-24 months after the disaster. The qualitative data were analyzed using grounded theory methodology, and descriptive statistics summarize the demographic data. RESULTS: Findings suggest that the disaster recovery process is typically more complex and lengthy for individuals with disabilities and requires negotiation of a service system sometimes unprepared for disability-related needs. Barriers to disaster recovery for individuals with disabilities included a lack of accessible housing, transportation, and disaster services. Supports to disaster recovery included the individual effort and advocacy of a case manager, connecting with needed resources, collaboration with other agencies, and client motivation and persistence. IMPLICATIONS: Results suggest that disaster recovery is facilitated by case managers with disability expertise, including knowledge about the needs of individuals with disabilities and about disability-related services.

published proceedings

  • Rehabil Psychol

altmetric score

  • 12.192

author list (cited authors)

  • Stough, L. M., Sharp, A. N., Decker, C., & Wilker, N.

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Stough, Laura M||Sharp, Amy N||Decker, Curt||Wilker, Nachama

publication date

  • August 2010