Hospitals and healthcare facilities have a critical role to play in preparedness and response efforts or a range of emergency situations. This an include natural and man-made disasters, terrorist attacks and pandemic outbreaks.
The availability of healthcare is essential for accommodating a surge in demand for care that happens during a public health emergency, so hospitals and other healthcare facilities need to be prepared well in advance for all aspects of emergency resource planning.
No organization wants to be caught out unprepared in a disaster situation – the sad, simple reality is that unpreparedness can lead to avoidable fatalities.
The following tools are critical for all hospital and healthcare organizations to have in their arsenals to get through a crisis situation.
Disaster and emergency plans
Many hospitals and healthcare facilities already have plans in place for a range of emergency situations, but many may not have the right plans for large-scale, mass casualty incidents that can happen in any place, at any time, with no warning.
It’s important that your organization undertakes a comprehensive review of the emergency planning that is in place. If the planning is deficient, it must become a top priority for your organization to ensure that it has emergency plans in place that address a range of different situations and scenarios.
Your plans on paper aren’t worth anything in a real emergency situation if your staff don’t know how to implement them. It’s crucial that you invest in staff training so everyone in your organization understands what is expected of them during an emergency, what their role will be and what procedures they need to follow.
Command and coordination
Without people at the helm of the ship in command and coordination roles, chaos and confusion can reign in the event of an emergency. By identifying staff who would play these key roles in a crisis and thoroughly training them, they will be able to assume these roles and command of the situation in the event of a disaster.
Sometimes your hospital or healthcare facility might find itself caught up in an emergency situation not in the role that you had imagined – but as another casualty of the emergency situation, not in a response role.
When your organization finds itself in the midst of an emergency in this way, the health and safety of patients and staff is the number one priority. It may be necessary to evacuate part, if not all, of your facilities. You will need evacuation plans in place ahead of time, once more with staff having clearly identified roles and appropriate levels of training.
Having communications plans and templates available to communicate both internally and externally during a crisis are essential. Also having the right delivery channels for quick communication in place will make life easier in the event of an emergency. For example, DeskAlerts is a great way to communicate quickly with all your staff internally when there is a critical situation – it can be used to send mass notifications to every single PC screen in your organization.