Sample Paper on Emergency Preparedness and Response

How to prepare for mass casualty events that will overwhelm health facility resources

            The level of preparation for a mass event that a health facility undertakes determines the ability of the institution to withstand the fallout. Adaptability and the processes of care needed at the time of mass casualty events are some of the issues that hospitals must consider. Adaptability is the ability of the health care providers to change their schedules to attend to the increased demand from the victims. First, institutions assess the risks to determine the best responses to the situation. Additionally, planning the emergency activities and building the capacity to withstand the numerous numbers of victims helps to prepare for mass casualty events. Such planning also requires coordination with key stakeholders including government agencies and relevant departments. Having an effective communication line between the affected facility including nurses and physicians and these stakeholders is vital in ensuring that the basic necessities including supplies are availed in time to support the overwhelmed facilities. Such an effective communication channel must also extend to the law enforcement agencies that are vital in handling the legal aspects of the event and maintaining the much needed law and order during such events (Cherry & Jacob, 2014).

How to coordinate response efforts to meet the needs of the local

Coordination of response efforts during mass casualties includes working together with the law enforcement agencies and other organizations responsible for the management of emergencies. The interrelationship between agencies must be well stated out in the planning stage with each institution having clear guidelines on its responsibilities. Coordination between hospitals also helps to manage the situation of the local people. Patients in need of critical care can be transferred to other health care facilities that are less crowded to help deal with the situation. Communication between the family members of the casualties is also a part of coordination that helps to minimize the fallout in case of a mass casualty event (CDCP, 2012). Community facilities such as schools can be used to accommodate some of the victims during a mass disaster. Having a central disaster and emergency management and response control center with semi-autonomous teams ensures that information is passed efficiently throughout the team. It also reduces bureaucracy and time taken to make key decisions.

How to manage disaster situation and maintain communication with external agencies

            Managing disaster while still communicating effectively with the external world takes a four-step process. First, the hospital must assess the situation effectively to determine the possible effects of the events. Secondly, the information is communicated to the related agencies and the involved persons in a simple and precise language. Additionally, the information is provided continuously at short intervals to ensure that all the external agencies are well informed of the situation (Nicholson, 2013). Lastly, the information provided to the audience should be reassuring and calming at the same time to reduce the pressure on the practitioners responsible for handling the problems. It is also imperative that the parties who are likely to be affected by such mass casualty events are informed in advance including patients, patients, physicians and hospital staff through public announcement platforms such radios and televisions or even fliers and brochures. Moreover, the mode of communication must be understandable to the intended parties. The message must also be interpreted to other languages especially if the audience is composed of individuals who use English as a second language or who do not understand the native language.

Changes in response when the hospital suffers damage and cannot function normally

            In case of hospital damages, the nurses and other healthcare practitioners must have the capacity to function without the basic resources. For instance, nurses must be able to provide ventilation services without power or administer alternative drugs when the most appropriate medications are not available. Additionally, when such damages occur, the nurses must work extra hours to assist in the management of the limited resources where support from family members of both the nurses and the victims are involved in disaster management at this stage. In some situations, evacuating the victims to a different facility is a better option but it requires nurse’s knowledge of how to evacuate the patients (Cherry & Jacob, 2014). The hospital staff must therefore maintain an open emergency communication channel through which they can contact the various partners and stakeholders including family members. The social media with its wide and almost real-time reach can be used to create public awareness on the mass casualty event while also offering guidelines to the affected parties on how to conduct themselves. This ensures basic services and functions can be restored as soon as possible or alternatives are sought in other facilities. Further, health care facilities must have clear outlines on how to provide care in case of a mass casualty to guide the nurses and other practitioners in handling the case

Where to find information about the emergency area

            Most of the response teachings on emergencies are taught in nursing schools and other related clinical training facilities. Hospitals and other related agencies and departments also have such information as hard copies such as publications and hospital manuals or as soft copies including their websites. Additionally, the information on how to manage mass disasters can be found in the reviewed nursing and healthcare journals. The journals and books provide details on how to handle each mass casualty case because each situation requires unique treatment. A mass casualty caused by chemical or biological agents is treated differently from that resulting from natural calamities. Hospitals and government agencies also provide guidelines on how to handle disaster within the hospital settings. Healthcare facilities teach the nurses and other practitioners the procedure of handling each case especially on the prioritization matters. While life is treated equally in normal situations, during emergencies nurses are supposed to attend to patients based on their ability to survive and based on the hospital regulations.

References

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012) Strategic national stockpile: emergency preparedness and response.

Cherry, B. & Jacob, S. (2014). Contemporary nursing: issues, trends, & management. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Nicholson, W. (2013). Emergency response and emergency management, law cases and materials. Springfield: Charles C Thomas.