“Endocrinologists should focus on those patients with conditions that present the most significant life-threatening risk,” says Batch. “Keep an eye on the highest risk situations. Clinicians know which of their patients are in this category.”
Batch says that several studies of weather events have shown that extended time without power can have long-term consequences, such as increases in HbA1c levels and blood pressure, that should be considered when communicating with patients. Access to groceries may be limited during an emergency, so patients should be encouraged to buy foods that are appropriate for their condition in advance, she adds.
It may be challenging for physicians to contact patients while maintaining daily appointments, but she encourages a team approach when constructing a plan for patient outreach during emergencies.
In rare situations where evacuation is required, Batch encourages patients who are able to travel to go to a location where a pharmacy or hospital is likely to be operating normally. “Endocrinologists can provide a great deal of guidance over the phone but there is no substitution for urgent and emergency care when needed,” she says.