Public Health Preparedness
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Emergency Preparedness and Public Health: The Lessons of Hurricane Sandy

Emergency Preparedness and Public Health- Lessons from Sandy
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Published in: JAMA (Volume 338, No. 24)

Date Published: December 26, 2012

Pages: 2 (pp 2569-2570)

 

                In this entry, the authors discuss the lessons learned during Hurricane Sandy, while also assessing some of the improvements to hospital planning in the aftermath of Katrina. The article focuses on high risk patient evacuations involving elderly or disabled patients, and the fact that despite improvements in emergency planning, no clear and consistent guidelines were in place to organize an evacuation.  The second half of the article discusses the absence of situational awareness during Sandy and Katrina, underscoring the chaotic nature of natural disasters and highlighting the importance of investment and collaboration among partners and stakeholders when attempting to mitigate the damage caused by such events. 

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Resource Planning for Ambulance Services in Mass Casualty Incidents- A DES-based Policy Model

Resource Planning for Ambulance Services in Mass Casualty Incidents- A DES-based Policy Model
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Published in: Healthcare Management Science (Volume 15, Issue 3)

Date Published: September, 2012

Pages: 16 (pp 254-269)

 

Due to an increasing number of mass casualty incidents, which are generally complex and unique in nature, we suggest that decision makers consider operations research based policy models to help prepare emergency staff for improved planning and scheduling at the emergency site. We thus develop a discrete-event simulation policy model, which is currently being applied by disaster-responsive ambulance services in Austria. By evaluating realistic scenarios, our policy model is shown to enhance the scheduling and outcomes at operative and online levels. The proposed scenarios range from small, simple, and urban to rather large, complex, remote mass casualty emergencies. Furthermore, the organization of an advanced medical post can be improved on a strategic level to increase rescue quality, including enhanced survival of injured victims. In particular, we consider a realistic mass casualty incident at a brewery relative to other exemplary disasters. Based on a variety of such situations, we derive general policy implications at both the macro (e.g., strategic rescue policy) and micro (e.g., operative and online scheduling strategies at the emergency site) levels.

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Measuring Crisis Decision Making for Public Health Emergencies

Measuring Crisis Decision Making for Public Health Emergencies
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Published in: RAND Corporation report to Department of Health and Human Services

Date Published: 2009

Pages: 76 (50 page report plus tables and references)

 

Public health emergencies often involve making difficult decisions, including when to notify the public of threats, when to close schools or suspend public events, when to dispense medication, and how to allocate scarce resources. Yet, public health practitioners often have little experience or training in crisis decision making and can be uncomfortable with the need to make decisions based on often-incomplete information and short time lines. Unfortunately, there are no established tools for identifying, measuring, and improving public health crisis decision making. This technical report describes the development and first generation of a tool to measure key aspects of crisis decision making in public health emergencies based on performance in exercises (e.g., tabletops, functional exercises, full-scale exercises) and real incidents (e.g., outbreaks of waterborne disease). The tool is a paper-and-pencil assessment form that is intended to allow public health practitioners to assess their baseline crisis decision-making capabilities and identify shortfalls and shortcomings that may represent opportunities for internal process improvements. The items in the tool focus on public health crisis decision-making processes that the scientific and practical literatures identify as key “building blocks” of effective crisis decision making. Given the early stage of development, this tool is intended to facilitate improvement, not to test and rate health-department performance for purposes of accountability. This tool should be considered a first generation. Further testing and development will be required before the tool can be used for accountability purposes.

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DelValle Institute's curator insight, October 30, 2013 11:41 AM

Published in: RAND Corporation report to Department of Health and Human Services

Date Published: 2009

Pages: 76 (50 page report plus tables and references)

 

Public health emergencies often involve making difficult decisions, including when to notify the public of threats, when to close schools or suspend public events, when to dispense medication, and how to allocate scarce resources. Yet, public health practitioners often have little experience or training in crisis decision making and can be uncomfortable with the need to make decisions based on often-incomplete information and short time lines. Unfortunately, there are no established tools for identifying, measuring, and improving public health crisis decision making. This technical report describes the development and first generation of a tool to measure key aspects of crisis decision making in public health emergencies based on performance in exercises (e.g., tabletops, functional exercises, full-scale exercises) and real incidents (e.g., outbreaks of waterborne disease). The tool is a paper-and-pencil assessment form that is intended to allow public health practitioners to assess their baseline crisis decision-making capabilities and identify shortfalls and shortcomings that may represent opportunities for internal process improvements. The items in the tool focus on public health crisis decision-making processes that the scientific and practical literatures identify as key “building blocks” of effective crisis decision making. Given the early stage of development, this tool is intended to facilitate improvement, not to test and rate health-department performance for purposes of accountability. This tool should be considered a first generation. Further testing and development will be required before the tool can be used for accountability purposes.

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Disaster Preparedness Among Medically Vulnerable Populations

Disaster Preparedness Among Medically Vulnerable Populations | Public Health Preparedness | Scoop.it
Disaster Preparedness Among Medically Vulnrable Populations
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Published in: American Journal of Preventive Medicine (Volume 40, Issue 2)

 

Date Published: February, 2011

 

Pages: 5 (pp 139-143)

 

Background: Vulnerable populations such as those with poor health, disabilities, and chronic

diseases are at an increased risk of adverse health outcomes resulting from natural disasters.

Purpose: The objective of this study was to examine the association of general health status,

disability status, and chronic disease status, respectively, with disaster preparedness, among Behavioral

Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey respondents.

 

Methods: BRFSS data were obtained for six states that implemented the optional general preparedness

module from 2006 through 2008. Three dependent variables were analyzed, including presence

of four preparedness items (i.e., food, water, flashlight, radio); emergency evacuation plan; and 3-day

supply of medication. Primary independent variables included perceived health status, disability

status, and number of chronic diseases. Data were analyzed in 2010 and accounted for BRFSS

complex sampling design.

 

Results: Respondents with fair/poor perceived health (OR_0.76, 95% CI_0.65, 0.89); a disability

(activity limitation; OR_0.81, 95% CI_0.73, 0.90); and three or more chronic diseases (OR_0.77,

95% CI_0.58, 1.02) were less likely to have all four preparedness items than their healthier counterparts.

However, all these groups were more likely to have a 3-day supply of medication than their

healthier counterparts. Results varied for presence of an emergency evacuation plan.

Conclusions: Vulnerable populations were generally less likely to have household preparedness

items but more likely to have medication supplies than their counterparts. Public health offıcials

should target these groups to increase levels of disaster preparedness.

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