4 Tactics Authorities Should Use to Prepare for Healthcare Emergencies : Disasters can strike without warning, and in most cases, they do. While we have almost little to no control over disasters or other healthcare emergencies, the best we can do is prepare ourselves.
Developing disaster response strategies and devising mechanisms to mitigate their adverse effects is the utmost responsibility of the healthcare sector. Disaster preparedness, mitigation strategies, and provision of medical supplies are all a few of the emergency response tactics. However, whether it’s a natural disaster or a pandemic outbreak, the first responders are healthcare facilities, and that is why they must prepare for emergencies at all times.
To prevent healthcare catastrophes, organizations responsible for these affairs must compose such tactics that prove effective at the time of disaster. Following are a few tactics authorities should use to prepare for healthcare emergencies:
Disaster management and organization
The recent catastrophe caused by the spread of COVID-19 has exposed the shortcomings of our healthcare systems. Fortunately, we can learn from our weaknesses and prepare well for future healthcare emergencies. The first thing that authorities need to give special attention to is disaster management and preparedness. Healthcare organizations and workers need to respond to and manage public health emergencies with adequate planning and resources. The focus should be on encouraging public health workers to pursue specialization courses and training in disaster management. Healthcare workers can opt for an MPH disaster management program to develop skills for managing and responding to public health emergencies.
Furthermore, to lessen the crisis, organizations should have a thorough plan prepared for managing disastrous emergencies. For instance, healthcare organizations should make accessible to all workers previous healthcare catastrophes to prepare a comparative report and deal with crises accordingly. In such an outbreak, we may lack sufficient workers and resources. It is always best to draft a contingency plan such as voluntary programs and an abundance of emergency supplies to avert this trouble. Also, preparing people beforehand for such emergencies may prove helpful. Besides this, some places should be set up as temporary medical centers in case of emergency as the number of affected people increases.
If the spread of disease begins to fade or patient count begins to decline, that does not mean that it will not occur or resurface again. Conduct risk assessment after going through the facts and figures regarding every aspect of the healthcare emergency and its after-effects. Suppose a region is under the influence of a viral or infectious disease. In that case, all the citizens should be kept under observation whether they present symptoms or not. Authorities must weigh in the risks and develop relationships with local law enforcement agencies to avoid wasting time figuring out who to call in the middle of a crisis.
During an emergency, rapid communication between people designated with different jobs is highly essential. For instance, in case of an emergency operation, the surgeon has to be informed at once. If a fire emerges, you have to call for the firefighters instantly, or else it could intensify. These examples show that a trouble-free and well-ordered communication system should exist so that the rescue mission does not face any delays. All healthcare facilities should have backup power and emergency plans in case of a power outage. Authorities should ensure that communications between different emergency response departments are not disrupted.
There should be concrete emergency operations plans that address things such as documenting the internal lines of contact in hospitals or how to reach out to local first responders. The authorities should also invest in developing various applications and virtual helplines which can aid people in crisis regardless of their location. A great example of effective communication in healthcare emergencies is the introduction of virtual healthcare during COVID-19. It allowed the public to gain access to different healthcare services without violating social distancing.
Public assistance and training
At times of emergency, lack of workforce can cause a severe hindrance in providing relief, especially during healthcare emergencies. For overcoming this challenge, authorities can seek assistance from various public volunteer groups and private organizations. As a nation, an ordinary citizen also has to take part in the welfare of society. And it is the authorities’ responsibility to aid this collaboration as much as possible. The authorities should be able to assist volunteers in any way possible to deal with an emergency. For instance, there should be an adequate system that can train and guide the locals on how to handle a crisis. Provide boot camps and bases for resources, coordination, and training to prevent overburdening healthcare workers.
A healthcare calamity can easily overwhelm any country’s healthcare industry, especially those that fail to prepare a proper emergency plan. It is up to the authorities to plan and evaluate the loopholes in the system to avoid overburdening the frontline workers. They should take concrete steps such as reevaluating the disaster management tactics, effective communication, guiding the public, risk assessment, etc., to avoid a healthcare disaster. Emergency departments should be well-equipped, trained, and informed to be able to deal with healthcare emergencies. The Covid-19 pandemic served as a grave reminder of the pitfalls of the global healthcare community. Hopefully, we can learn some valuable lessons and emerge more steadfast.
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