As the recent hurricanes devastated Houston and Florida the rest of us looked on in disbelief, wondering to ourselves how we would fare if faced with such adversity. Our hearts growing heavier every minute that passed, wondering when the downpour would dissipate or waiting to hear from loved ones–unsure if they were able to evacuate or simply safe. Sitting idly by as so many people were forced out of their homes and, worse yet, out of hospitals and care facilities that they were so dependent upon. As the skies clear and the people of Texas and Florida begin to rebuild, we’re reminded of the critical importance of emergency healthcare policies and procedures. Here are three ways hospitals can prepare for natural disasters.
When it comes to emergency situations, it’s easy for us to lose our cool. Performing drills for emergency situations like fires, evacuations, and transporting patients to alternative facilities help familiarize and prepare staff with procedures and to execute them with confidence. Doing so also illustrates to staff that there is a proper protocol in such situations, eliminating any guesswork and panic.
Put an end to paper
In an emergency situation, it’s important that staff are able to go on business as usual. This includes being able to access all they need in order to act accordingly, including tools, documents and reporting tools with minimal friction points. Cases where there is a fire or a flood, paper can be difficult to track, can get damaged or worse, misplaced as panic rises. Having electronic tools that are Saas-based means that you don’t have to be in one particular place or rely on a single machine, rather it offers the freedom and ability to access something like policies and procedures in an emergency situation from anywhere.
Use triage as your first line of defense
During times of emergencies like extreme weather events, people tend to flock towards hospitals as it is seen as safe, whether health services are needed or not. When emergency waiting rooms are filled with people, stress and panic levels can rise. This can be extremely burdensome on an already strained staff. As such, triaging can be your first and best line of defense to keep matters calm. Introducing an extra screening process or a set of criteria people must meet in scenarios such as these could be extremely helpful to ensure beds and resources are saved for those who truly need the help.
Often times we forget that there are scenarios that are beyond our control, and don’t look for ways to prepare for natural disasters. This is why when it comes to hospital risk strategies, including policies and procedures on how to tackle emergency scenarios is as important as it is to prevent and mitigate them. Preparing and running drills can sometimes seem monotonous and a waste of time, preparing for something that may never happen. But of course, taking from the old boy scout adage, it’s always best to “be prepared.” Natural disasters don’t discriminate, and as climate change takes its effect, they can strike regardless of where you are or the size of your hospital. For more tips on building an amazing risk strategy, check out our blog: 3 Surefire Ways to Mitigate Risk.