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Establishing an Efficient Hospital Network for Coordinated Disaster Response, Essay Example

Pages: 10

Words: 2653

Essay

Introduction

Disasters, both natural and manmade have created a long list of recorded data on different resulting emergencies and even death on the part of those who are affected by the said occurrence. Most often than not, such occurrences result to emergencies because the situations have not be properly prepared for by the communities involved. Most of the time, this becomes the primary reason why many lives are lost and several infrastructures become devastated which need to be replenished and refurnished after the disaster. Such an occurrence then causes many facets of the community to lose so much valuables and thus basically presents a high-cost effect of unpreparedness.

This is the reason why it is deemed to be very important to have an efficient system of coordinated disaster response that is established to assist communities as they face different disasters that may come along the way. Relatively, this involves the overall cooperation of the community as a unified system that correlates the responsibility of the different agencies present within the said territory where residents are supposed to be protected.

Hospitals are among the key players in the said process. Being the end-zone when it comes to protecting the lives of the vulnerable individuals who have been specifically afflicted by the situation, hospitals need to be given proper direction as to how they are supposed to respond to the responsibility that they are expected to complete especially in times of disastrous days. Such concept of responding to emergency management protocols for hospitals in relation to the cooperation they are supposed to have with other social agencies shall be further discussed in the paper that follows. Through exploring the different theories that define the need for disastrous events to be fully managed and given attention to by social agencies, this paper shall give a clear suggestion on how a disaster response could properly established between key players of the process. Through the exploration of the different researches and other literature that have been produced to support the said topic, the discussion is expected to create a vivid picture on how the need to handle disaster management options could be successfully completed through effective hospital-and-community collaboration.

Literature Review

In relation to the manner by which hospitals view communities as the primary receiver of the services that they have to offer, there are five primary elements that are considered vulnerable to particular emergencies concerning issues of environmental and manmade disasters. These elements are presented in the documentation of the basis of EHA Training Programmes in WPRO[located at http://www.who.int/hac/techguidance/tools/WHO_strategy_consecpts_in_emegency_management.pdf] .

The said elements could be identified as follows:

(a) People –this element specifically involve human individuals living or residing in the location where the disaster may have occurred. It is the primary concern of hospitals to immediately secure those who have been afflicted by the disaster, whose life and health has become endangered because of the situation. Aiming to save as much lives as possible, hospitals ought to receive immediate record on who among the residents need immediate medical attention.

(b) Properties: houses and other infrastructures around the area are most often than not affected especially when there are natural disasters that are occurring. This especially includes landslides, floods and earthquakes. Immediately seeing to it that these properties are specifically attended to depend on the responsibility of the local government. Nevertheless, finding people from such properties are also a part of the role that hospital-rescuer plays.

(c) Services: The services that may have been fully operational during the regular days before the occurrence of the disaster may be stopped. At times, when the hospitals are specifically devastated by the situation, even their services may be put on hold. This is the reason why it is important the even hospitals are able to administer emergency evacuation sites especially when they become the target of the resulting end of the occurring disaster.

(d) Livelihoods: Most often than not, it becomes highly crucial for the community if the livelihood that is affected by the disaster involves the sources of their basic needs, especially food and clothing. When this happens, hospital coordination with other agencies within and even outside the city would help in alleviating the situation’s frustrating condition.

(e) Environment: the environment could be assumed probably the hardest to reestablish after the occurrence of a disaster. The integrity of its capacity to support human life could have been altered by the situation hence it might take time for it to recover from the disaster. In this case, alternative solutions should be thought of especially when it comes to hospitals getting the necessary supplies they need to handle the increased demand for the service that they are supposed to provide the community with.

All these five different aspects could be seen to have an impact on how hospitals are supposed to withstand the pressure of providing good and effective service even in the middle of the most trying times that human communities could be subjected to. Relatively, having the support of the whole community and being practically prepared for such occasions help so much in making it easier for the hospitals to respond to the duties that they are supposed to complete especially in times of social distress.

The creation of an emergency response system that the hospitals administrators could depend upon in cases of occurring disasters in the community would largely help in easing off the weight of responsibility that is in the shoulders of the healthcare attendants who are supposed to extend their time, effort and their physical strength to respond to what the people need. How then could such systematic emergency response be created? Jeannette Sutton and Kathleen Tierney’s written research on Disaster Preparedness: Concepts, Guidance, and Research gives a vivid and solid example on how disaster preparedness approaches could help hospitals create a network of disaster response operation that would not only involve them, but also the cooperation of other agencies in the society. In this research, they point out that even though hospitals play a key role in carrying the responsibility of attending to people who have been afflicted by the disaster, it is still considered as a social responsibility. This process should include the camaraderie and collaboration of other agencies that are supposed to display support and assistance to the people in times of such emergencies. With such ideal thought in mind, this research creates a distinction on how the primary agencies [such as the weather department] should be able to create an immediate report that would alert secondary agencies such as hospitals and other healthcare establishments to prepare themselves for an incoming influx of people who are going to need their service.

Realizing how important it is for the hospitals to be prepared, it is often insisted that the administrators prepare for themselves a solid structure of operational adjustment when disasters are to be handled by the institution. For instance, medical supplies ought to be shifted during these times to what specific medical attention the people might need. In the instance when a particular disaster arises, an immediate assessment of the situation through seeing what those who were first brought into the hospital need should be duly recorded hence creating an immediate shift of supplies according to what is demanded by the cases presented during a disastrous occurrence.

Seeing the unforeseen is essential in relation to this task of preparation. First to note is the location of the community where the hospital is located. The geographical characteristic of an area could tell so much on what possible disasters might occur within the said location during specific times. What specific weather maps could be drawn according to the environmental makeup of the area? The land mapping of the location could also help so as to know if it is prone to landslides and other situations alike. Knowing what the geographical makeup of the area is shall place an understanding on the part of the administrators of the hospital as to what part of the community most victims might come from during specific seasons of the year.

The physical makeup and the zone of the community being served by the hospital should also be well defined. Is the location more of an industrialized zone or a residential zone? Gauging the number of residents in the area and what specific zone the community belongs to shall provide the hospital a rough estimate on how many possible victims they should be serving during a specific disaster. Understandably, tying up the physical information with the geographical mapping of the area, the hospital administrators should be able to instantiate a hypothetical conclusion as to what specific issues might arise especially in times of disasters. For instance, if a hospital is surrounded by communities that has a mix of local legal residents of their own lands and a group of areas where illegal settlers reside, how would the administration respond to the needs of the people equally? In this case, several ethical issues might be considered especially in connection with the legality of the residential rights of the people who are in the area. Nevertheless, such consideration should only be given tight attention to when it comes to an instance when supplies are beginning to run out and the ones to be served by the hospital is already limited when it comes to the measure of the population living in the area.

Beyond the ethical issues though, hospital administrators should also be prepared in handling emergencies regarding the running out of basic supplies such as food, shelter and clothing. These three basic needs and the lack of it shall create medical issues especially on children. Responding to such possibilities should be well structured and disseminated to all hospital personnel as they are being oriented into position. Take note that the demographics of the population of the individuals residing in the area have a great impact in defining this particular decision. The ratio between the children and the older individuals create a defining factor as to what particular medical supplies should be kept in store in preparation for the occurrence of disasters. Knowing the demographics record of the area shall also provide the hospitals with the proper understanding of what specific ailments might arise in case particular situations occur in the community.

To note, hospitals must be able to differentiate a hazard from an emergency. Basically, the hazards define what particular elements in the community might actually put the people in danger. The situation of being put into danger however does not yet occur in this picture. In terms of emergency, the situation has already advanced to a higher level affecting several individuals in the area. In gauging the possible hazards that a community might need to face, it is important for the administrators to see to it that they are able to note the risks as well. From these risks, the outlining of the possible ailments that need to be treated could be fully given attention to, hence reducing the impact of the emergencies when they actually occur.

Some of the risks that should be noted include dead and/or missing individuals, the occurrence of either mental or physical injury or both on the people, contamination, displacement from their homes, and breakdown of health and physical capacities to face anymore resulting ailment from the disasters. In this case, administrators should be able to map immediate response procedures. This should include the notes on where to get alternate water supply. It should also note where to find alternate route incase the area has been detached from regular land transportation routes because of the disaster, there should also be a specific indication on how to find easier access to relief materials that the people might need to prevent anymore development of ailments during the occurrence of the disaster.

First and foremost, it is important to be involved in the rescue operation. This is an utmost concern for hospital officers to instantiate at the point of occurring emergencies. Being on the move during the occurrence of such emergencies would put the hospital personnel on the front line as they assist the individuals who are directly afflicted by danger. In this case, the personnel assigned to immediately attend to the needs of the individuals afflicted by the situation should consider these primary operations:

  1. Finding and rescuing the victims
  2. Evacuation of the victims to safer places
  3. Provide first aid and medical transportation
  4. Treat the injured
  5. Care for the dead ones immediately and separate them from the living victims to avoid contamination
  6. Help in the reestablishment of the lifelines such as water and food sources and finally
  7. Planning for the recovery and the reconstruction of the society through mediating on the healthcare needs of the people with an immediate response

This approach could be further identified as follows:

Through undergoing these procedures, the hospitals would be able to create a constructive network of system of response that could save thousands of lives and help in the process of recovery when a community undertows particular disasters that could have possibly jeopardized both their safety and their health. Surviving through a network of help from the different agencies in the community that are ready to provide assistance in times of distress creates a more responsive condition that would impose a development on how the emergency is given attention by hospital administrators and other leaders who are expected by the community to extend help.

III. Analysis of the Literature

The researches and other literature that have been collected to define the discussion presented in the review could be noted for their reliability and the structural condition by which they are able to present the specific source of competence when establishing emergency networks when responding to disasters in the communities. Noting the role of hospitals in the process of providing aid to the medically challenged individuals during a disaster intends to manifest a source of validity when it comes to establishing the foundation of the research being handled herein. Utilizing these particular researches and studies as references for the presentation desired is expected to provide competent backbone that would increase the practicality of the topic being discussed and the applicability of the procedures being suggested.

Conclusion

Preparing for the possible situations that a community would need to face at the verge of emergencies is an important aspect of the responsibility that hospitals take unto their shoulders. Knowing what to do when disasters occur is then considered as an important aspect of preparedness that would allow hospitals to create effective conditions of defining their capacity to serve the public during their times of need. Collaborating with other agencies through aiding in the front line of acting towards the safety of the people during a disaster is expected to give the community a source of strength and trust when it comes to dealing with times that are nearly impossible to survive in. Disasters might not be that easy to avoid, but responding to them accordingly would given the communities a chance to see through the bad days and live through the better times ahead.

References:

Alexander, David (2002). Principles of Emergency planning and Management. Harpenden: Terra Publishing.

Buchanan, Sally. “Emergency preparedness.” from Paul Banks and Roberta Pilette. Preservation Issues and Planning. Chicago: American Library Association, 2000. 159–165.

Concepts in Emergency Management. The basis of EHA Training Programmes in WPRO. http://www.who.int/hac/techguidance/tools/WHO_strategy_consecpts_in_emegency_management.pdf. (Retrieved on November 22, 2012).

Correa, F. IOM: Hospitals Need Coordinated Disaster Response. http://www.rheumatologynews.com/index.php?id=8844&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=126998&cHash=630020dc07f350857b383d236712a277. (Retrieved on November 22, 2012).

Drabek, Thomas E. (1999). Human System Responses to Disaster. New York: Springer-Verlag. p. 21.

Harrald, John. Agility and Discipline: Critical Success Factors for Disaster Response, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 2006; 604; 256.

Lindell, M., Prater, C., and Perry, R. (2006). Fundamentals of Emergency Management. 2009 at: http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/edu/fem.asp. (Retrieved on November 22, 2012).

National Civil Defence. Emergency Management Strategy 2007, page 5. Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, New Zealand 2008.

Sutton, J. and Tierney, K. Disaster Preparedness: Concepts, Guidance, and Research. Natural Hazards Center Institute of Behavioral Science University of Color.

Walker, Peter (1991). International Search and Rescue Teams, A League Discussion Paper. Geneva: League of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

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