The start of hurricane season is a good time to take stock: Is your hospital prepared to serve your community before, during and after a natural disaster?
Last year’s Atlantic hurricane season, June 1 through November 30, 2018, logged above-average activity with a total of 15 named storms and eight hurricanes, two of which reached Category 3 or higher. One of those major storms was Hurricane Florence, a storm that killed 54 people in the United States and caused more than $24 million in damages.
Last week in Healthcare Innovation, Jane Both, BSN, MSN, RN-BC, Director of Clinical Informatics at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina, detailed how “Communication planning was critically important in enabling us to continuously and effectively care for our patients.” Read Jane’s story to find out how, “despite the loss of traditional communication methods, our physicians, nurses, staff and other personnel were able to connect and collaborate for the duration of the hurricane and the devastating flooding in its aftermath.”
Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare also recently covered the importance of keeping the lines of communication open during an emergency. Jody Moore, Co-founder of Crisis Focus, an emergency management consulting company for the healthcare industry, offered 10 practical tips that can help hospitals be better prepared to communicate during a crisis. Of course, every hospital must start with the CMS Emergency Preparedness rules, and comply with federal and state laws. But there’s much more every hospital can do to not only respond to an emergency such as a natural disaster, but also maintain continuity of patient care, even under the most trying circumstances.
As Jane Both of New Hanover Regional pointed out, “Our teams came together to serve our community with courage, compassion and tireless dedication. Communication planning was critically important in enabling us to continuously and effectively care for our patients.”
While we all hope this year’s hurricane season will come and go without a major event, every hospital must be prepared for the possibility that a natural disaster could cripple the technological systems they depend on for essential functions.