Protecting our Elders and Developing Equitable Policies During Public Health Emergencies: Ethical Recommendations.

Academic Article


  • Purpose of the Review: Experiences of patients, families, healthcare workers and health systems during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent national focus on racial justice have forced a reconsideration of policies and processes of providing care in crisis situations when resources are scarce. The purpose of this review is to present recent developments in conceptualizing ethical crisis standards. Recent findings: Several recent papers have raised concerns that "objective" scarce resource allocation protocols will serve to exacerbate underlying social inequities. Older adults and their formal and informal caregivers suffered from intersecting planning failures including lack of adequate stockpiling of personal protective equipment, failure to protect essential workers, neglect of long-term care facilities and homecare in disaster planning and de-prioiritization in triage algorithms. Summary: Revision of disaster planning guidelines is urgent. The time is now to apply lessons learned from COVID-19 before another disaster occurs. We present several suggestions for future plans.
  • Published In


  • Ethics, Health disparities, Triage
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Chuang E; Gazaway S; Harrell ER; Elk R
  • Start Page

  • 133
  • End Page

  • 140
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 4