Date Published: 7 April 2009

How Hospitals Can Make Beds Available for Disaster Victims

Health News from the United States of America (USA).

Two new studies published today in the American Medical Association's (AMA) Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness journal suggest that sufficient hospital capacity during a disaster can be achieved through evaluating resources and discharging non-critical patients.

?Making hospital beds available for victims of a mass emergency may be easier than once thought,”said study lead author Gabor D. Kelen M.D., professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. ?Reverse triage, which is a system to create more inpatient hospital beds by discharging non-critical patients, can significantly increase surge capacity without a corresponding increase in resources.?

A related study suggests that refining and standardizing definitions of surge capacity relating to space, staffing, and supply concerns help implement surge capacity strategies for hospitals and health facilities during a mass casualty incidence.

?There is currently no accepted protocol for a detailed, phased way to increase hospital space during a disaster,”said John L. Hick, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Minnesota and physician at Hennepin County Medical Center. ?Surge capacity is affected by many variables, so systems and processes are critical to support surge-capacity decision making.?

 

Source: American Medical Association (AMA).

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