Hospitals have always been central to a community's ability to respond to an emergency. The community looks to the hospital not only to mobilize the resources necessary to care for the ill and injured, but also to coordinate relief and recovery.
The Wisconsin Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program (WHEPP) has been a critical resource to hospitals as they have improved their abilities to respond to disasters. The WHEPP annual report shows how hospitals have strengthened emergency preparedness throughout the state to better prepare health care facilities to address large-scale disasters. See the report at: www.wha.org/pubarchive/reports/2011wheppreport.pdf.
How do you prepare for the issue of access to health information during and after a disaster? Here are some resources: www.ahima.org
The Institute of Medicine issued a toolkit to help emergency response planners, including hospitals, develop indicators and triggers for activating crisis standards of care when insufficient resources are available to provide the normal level of care to all patients in a disaster or public health emergency. The report builds on two previous IOM reports on crisis standards of care, which emphasized the importance of developing indicators and triggers in CSC plans. “Specifically, the toolkit focuses on indicators and triggers that guide transitions along the continuum of care, from conventional standards of care to contingency surge response and standards of care to crisis surge response and standards of care, and back to conventional standards of care,” the authors note. The report contains chapters specific to emergency management, public health, behavioral health, emergency medical services, hospital and acute care, and out-of-hospital care, as well as common elements designed to facilitate integrated planning. (8/2013)