In emergencies or natural disasters, hospitals come first in providing communities with necessary medical care. Based on the scale of such events, disasters can result in a rapid rise in demand for urgent medical services to the point that they overwhelm hospitals and medical professionals. In these moments, it’s crucial for healthcare providers and facility administrators to plan forward for any surge in patient inflow and resources. It will help them provide the best medical care possible and ensure continued services during testing times. That said, listed below are ten ways hospitals can improve their response to emergencies.
Previously, organizations have practiced withholding crucial information from the general public, which is wrong. Healthcare facility managers can prove their value to different communities by being honest and open with them. Today, information can easily leak out either one way or another. The important thing is to provide the public with authentic information. Misinformation from different sources can create chaos, so healthcare experts should inform everyone on staying safe with correct, research-driven details.
Continuous training is essential to ensure the staff is ready for a healthcare emergency at all times. For instance, healthcare providers need to be prepared to manage situations such as a heart attack, stroke, or any other cardiac emergency at all times. The management can encourage medical aides and support staff to complete basic life support or ACLS online training programs to skill up quickly. These certifications include training on the interpretation of ECGs, the process of commencing vascular access, and the effective use of medication.
Another vital factor to consider while implementing a training program is community involvement. Full cooperation of police, local ambulance services, and fire departments is critical for medical facilities managers. Establishing the roles for each agency during the training plan is crucial to adequate emergency management preparation.
Hospital administrators and healthcare staff can check if their emergency plans will work at the time of need through exercises and drills. Emergency response rehearsal identifies potential gaps in established procedures and aid experts in discovering ways to improve their recovery plan. Exercises can be discussion-based or operations, but it is good if rehearsals are real-life drills. Many states require multiple rehearsals in a single year to improve their disaster plan. Usually, fire drills and internal emergency drills are held periodically for each turn of hospital staff.
Maintain a stock of assets
Naturally, a lot of people become frightened when they encounter a disaster. It troubles the government agencies and local resources to provide people with relief during a large-scale emergency. Hospitals and healthcare staff cannot rely on external help. Every healthcare facility must maintain stock of its assets to be aware of its capabilities and limitations before any disaster hits.
Every hospital keeps medical records in a separate department. These departments require a dedicated space, access to documents, and software to manage everything. Also, hospitals need access to these medical records to operate efficiently. If any technical problem occurs during an emergency, it can cost many lives. A continuity plan helps hospitals identify the software, hardware, physical space, and other resources that every facility needs to stay operational. It’s imperative to identify these requirements to establish substitutes before any technical problem arises.
Healthcare leadership involvement
Hospitals are focused on patients’ safety and healing. Occasionally, emergency preparedness is considered a secondary interest. It is seen as a less impactful pursuit than the demands of routine healthcare. However, keeping the healthcare facility open and providing patient care in emergencies is invaluable to the community. Also, it can be a significant profit generator.
Healthcare leaders and managers must understand the value of a robust emergency management plan. They should devote the best resources to emergency preparations. Healthcare providers with experience in disaster management are vital assets of any emergency management program. These professionals help situations from spiraling out of hand.
Appoint a safety officer
Safety and privacy measures during any emergency are essential for a successful response. Hospital emergency response teams must appoint a safety officer to hold an emergency preparedness department. They can also dedicate teams for rescue operations and conduct searches or provide training to damage assessment teams. A safety officer needs to be efficient in controlling the crowd and plan effective hospital evacuation. Also, they should have experience working with military professionals and local law enforcement agencies as required.
Continuity of services
Despite any emergency incident, hospitals need to maintain continuity of services. For instance, essential surgical and medical assistance should continue to function with emergency response plans. WHO offered some essential emergency preparation recommendations for hospitals to create a list of services and keep each service in order of priority. Moreover, backup arrangements for extra oxygen, water, and power must be available in every hospital.
Surge capacity & management
Every hospital should calculate its capacity according to the number of beds and available resources for critical care. It provides them an excellent estimation to expand beyond their regular capacity to meet the needs of emergencies. Healthcare providers maintaining surge capacity and management must identify effective means to expand their inpatient capacity. Also, they should create plans for providing interfacility patients’ transfer and communicate with local agencies to establish additional patient care units like hostels.
Supply chain sufficiency
Hospitals require to deal with supply chains and logistics for the continuity of services. Officers managing supply chains should create an inventory of every piece of equipment, supplies, and pharmaceuticals. Supply management officers must also recognize critical shortages along with stocking essential medications and supplies. A routine or weekly inventory check is necessary to predict the usage of these crucial pharmaceuticals and supplies.
A sudden emergency can wreak havoc upon the whole community in an instant. If a healthcare facility isn’t well equipped to respond to an emergency, people might not be able to get the help they need. Every hospital must establish a professional emergency management system for the safety of their healthcare providers, patients, and the hospital’s financial security. Emergency training programs must be conducted in hospitals to train their staff to handle any emergency within the hospital. Healthcare professionals and hospital administrators must prepare their facilities ahead of any disastrous circumstances.