Once a crisis hits, it’s too late to decide on a plan of action. Keeping people safe and keeping the reputation of your hospital in good shape means knowing what to do long before you need to do it. Here’s what you need to know to keep a crisis from becoming a complete disaster.
1. Get the Right Gear
Having the right equipment before you need it is essential to the safety of both patients and health care workers. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Ebola crisis at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The nurses did not have the right personal protective equipment (PPE), and there were no protocols in place. The patient did not survive, and two nurses were infected — an outcome that may have been different with the right equipment and training.
2. Prepare and Practice
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services standards and Centers for Disease Control protocols are only the beginning of emergency preparedness. Start by implementing these required protocols and refine your standards by practicing on a regular basis. Regular drills will not only help workers know what to expect, but they will also help identify weak points and missing links. Supervisors can fine-tune protocols while workers practice techniques until they are second nature.
3. Communication Is Key
Dealing with a disaster effectively means having an effective mode of communication at all levels of hospital staff. Communications may be erratic or unreliable during a crisis, so multiple contact points must be collected and multiple delivery systems utilized. Effectively communicating with everyone is they key to keeping a crisis from becoming chaos.
Keeping a troubled situation from becoming out of control means taking command of the situation and maintaining control. Well-rehearsed workers, documented procedures, fine-tuned plans, and knowing how to use the proper PPE are all important steps on the path to a successfully contained crisis.