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National survey of institutional pediatric disaster preparedness

Timothy M. Ketterhagen, MD, Deanna L. Dahl-Grove, MD, Michele R. McKee, MD

Abstract


Objective: Describe institutional disaster preparations focusing upon the strategies to address pediatric patients in disaster preparedness.

Design: Descriptive study using survey methodology.

Setting: Hospitals that provide emergency care to pediatric patients throughout the United States.

Participants: Survey responses were solicited from hospital personnel that are familiar with the disaster preparedness plan at their institution.

Interventions: None.

Main outcome measures: Describe how pediatric patients are included in institutional disaster preparedness plans. The presence of a pediatric-specific lead, policies and procedures, and geographic/demographic patterns are also a focus.

Results: The survey was distributed to 120 hospitals throughout the United States and responses were received from 29 states. Overall response rate was 58 percent, with 53 percent of the surveys fully completed. Sixty-three percent of hospitals had an individual responsible for pediatric-specific disaster planning and 78 percent specifically addressed the care of pediatric patients (<16 yo) in their disaster plan. The hospitals with an individual designated for pediatric disaster planning were more likely to have a disaster plan that specifically addresses the care of pediatric patients (90 percent vs 56 percent; p = 0.015), to represent children with special healthcare needs as simulated patients in disaster exercises (73 percent vs 22 percent; p = 0.003), and to include pediatric decontamination procedures in disaster exercises (78 percent vs 35 percent; p = 0.008) than hospitals without a designated pediatric disaster planner.

Conclusion: The majority of hospitals surveyed incorporate pediatric patients into their disaster preparedness plan. Those hospitals with an individual designated for pediatric disaster planning were more likely to specifically address the care of pediatric patients in their institutional disaster plan.


Keywords


pediatric disaster preparedness, disasters, emergency management, disaster exercises, disaster planning

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5055/ajdm.2018.0296

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