Preparedness improves surge capacity of hospitals in emergencies and disasters

Added April 18, 2020

Citation: Sheikhbardsiri H, Raeisi A, Nekoei-Moghadam M, et al. Surge capacity of hospitals in emergencies and disasters with a preparedness approach: A systematic review. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness 2017; 11(5): 612-20

Free to view: No

What is this? Hospital surge capacity is a vital component in a healthcare system’s response to humanitarian crises. Established plans to manage large increased patient numbers may result in more effective service provision in the event of a pandemic illness.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for research that evaluated hospital surge capacity in emergencies and disasters, specifically in hospitals with a preparedness approach. They restricted their search to studies published in English language peer-reviewed journals from 2000 and did their search in November 2015. They included 1 randomised trial, 2 qualitative studies and 14 cross-sectional studies.

What was found: Actions in the following key domains may increase hospital surge capacity: staff, stuff, structure and system.

Ways to increase surge capacity include recruiting student and retired staff, reallocation of equipment from non-essential areas to key areas, and preparation of temporary treatment areas.

Appropriate planning is necessary because increasing capacity without appropriate measures, such as training volunteer forces, may adversely affect overall service capacity.

What’s uncertain: There is a lack of consensus on the definition, classification and evaluation of hospital surge capacity.


Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.