|Complete Self-Sufficiency Planning Key to Designing Disaster Ready Hospitals|
Hospitals continually prepare to handle mass casualties transported from all manner of disasters. But are those hospitals prepared to continue delivering care when the disaster is at their doorstep?
A recently published article in the Southern Medical Journal suggests a new paradigm for the design of future hospitals - and details the development of All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine (ACH JHM) in St. Petersburg, FL as an ideal example of this approach.
The article, "Complete Self-Sufficiency Planning: Designing and Building Disaster Ready Hospitals," (Brands, Hernandez, et al), points to events such as Hurricane Katrina which illustrated a major gap in disaster preparedness for at-risk institutions. Issues brought to light included: loss of back-up power due to flooding, inability to handle military helicopter traffic on hospital landing pads for multiple patient transfers, and entire facilities being forced to evacuate due to the inability to provide necessary temperature controls without functioning air conditioning. All these issues are best addressed in the facility design phase, the authors note.
"Disaster preparedness requires visionary yet pragmatic planning when new hospitals are constructed," says lead author Chad K. Brands, MD, Director of the Office of Medical Education at All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Considering institutional lessons learned is critical to the design phase."
When designing and building its new facility, All Children's conducted a comprehensive vulnerability assessment. This led to the development of a construct the authors have termed complete self-sufficiency planning (CSSP), useful for future disasters, either natural or manmade. The critical core elements of CSSP are as follows:
The facility opened by All Children's in January, 2010 incorporated design elements to address these issues, including:
"There is no substitute for the best preparation in planning for the worst," the authors conclude. "If a disaster strikes, then ACH JHM is prepared to rely on the principles and pragmatics of CSSP and to function as an island of security in the midst of the storm."
The complete article is available at: