Bristol Hospital Shares Lessons Learned After Post-Disaster Response Analysis

Bristol Hospital in Bristol, Connecticut, was one of many area hospitals in the Northeast United States that weathered the snowstorm this past October 29, as well as the week that followed. While they did not lose power, they did see a marked increase in the number of visiting patients, many of whom had to be admitted because they left their medication at home.

Other reasons that patients were admitted included power outages — which prevented the patient to run homecare equipment, including oxygen machines or other medical equipment. The patients had to stay at the hospital until they got power back at home. Many residents were admitted after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning caused by indoor space heaters and generator exhaust.

When power had been restored and operations returned to normal, department heads were surveyed to help determine what went right and what went wrong … and what could be done to improve response for the next time a storm hit the area. Once managers fully divulge this crucial information, administrators plan to evaluate where they need to adjust the emergency response plan to better serve its constituents.

So far, the lessons learned include:

  • Have extra staff on hand, or at least on call, if a severe storm is expected.
  • Have a pre-determined beeper list. This will save crucial time in the response to an emergency situation.
  • Have patients bring their medication with them if at all possible. That way they don’t have to be admitted if their situation is not a medical emergency.
  • Have plans in place to accommodate any victims of the storm so that the focus can shift to those requiring emergency attention.

For more information about disaster lessons learned for Bristol Hospital, visit: http://www.bristolpress.com/articles/2011/11/17/news/doc4ec5bcd67c097000507503.txt