Polish up your disaster response plan
Is your healthcare organization prepared to handle a natural disaster in your community? Or would the potential casualties of a major fire, chemical explosion, hurricane, earthquake, flood or tornado overwhelm your staff?
The anniversary of “Superstorm” Sandy, which struck New York and New Jersey on October 22, 2012, provides a timely reminder of the importance of preparing a disaster response plan and reviewing it on a regular basis. It’s important to remember that all areas of the nation face weather-related risks.
Should a natural disaster occur, hospitals, clinics, health systems and laboratories may face a sudden spike in demand for diagnostic and treatment services. Physical resources may be stretched to the limit, and there may not be enough physicians, nurses, PAs or laboratory technicians on hand to manage a high volume of patients.
While there are many aspects of a disaster response plan, addressing the staffing issue should be high on the list of priorities. One strategy is to establish a relationship with a staffing company like All Medical Personnel that can bring in well-qualified professionals on an immediate basis.
Developing an emergency staffing plan in advance of a disaster helps ensure that key elements of an effective response don’t “fall through the cracks” under the pressure of treating disaster victims and first-responders. It’s a good idea to polish up that response plan on an annual basis to reflect changes to your organization, including current contact information for key personnel, physicians and your temporary staffing partner. You should also update it quickly if a hurricane or flood appears to be imminent.
Healthcare organizations can be tested to their limits and beyond by a natural disaster. Having a back-up staffing plan in place is one of the keys to providing high quality care and serving your community’s emergency medical needs.