Preparedness improves surge capacity of hospitals in emergencies and disasters
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
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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.
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