Alternate care sites for the management of medical surge in disasters
Stewart, Gail A.
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This research compares federal and state approaches to managing disaster medical surge. The comparison identifies the varieties of regulations, assets and response methods available for federal and state responses to mass casualty incidents from which local communities can develop plans and acquire resources to create a seamless disaster medical care system. Following a disaster, survivors self-evacuate or are transported by EMS to a nearby hospital. Arrival of disaster survivors, combined with an often high daily number of non-disaster patients leaves the facility overwhelmed both in terms of medical resources and personnel. The lack of local resources to manage the incident may require state and federal assets to be deployed. The time it takes for the additional resources to arrive from outside the area leaves the facility unable to respond effectively for hours and even days. A whole community approach to medical surge management organized by a collaborative regional healthcare coalition may provide a solution. Such a coalition can engage stakeholders to assess and manage resources (space, staff, and stuff) and develop surge response plans that will integrate with state and federal resources when needed. Seamless coordination will minimize the complexities of medical surge needs and lead to doing the best for the most.
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