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Pediatric disaster preparedness and response and the nation's children's hospitals

Kristin C. Lyle, MD, Jerrod Milton, RPh, MBA, Daniel Fagbuyi, MD, Roxanna LeFort, MD, Paul Sirbaugh, DO, MBA, Jacqueline Gonzalez, ARNP, MSN, MBA, Jeffrey S. Upperman, MD, FAAP, FACS, Tim Carmack, Michael Anderson, MD

Abstract


Objective: Children account for 30 percent of the US population; as a result, many victims of disaster events are children. The most critically injured pediatric victims would be best cared for in a tertiary care pediatric hospital. The Children's Hospital Association (CHA) undertook a survey of its members to determine their level of readiness to respond to a mass casualty disaster.

Design: The Disaster Response Task Force constructed survey questions in October 2011.

Setting and participants: The survey was distributed via e-mail to the person listed as an “emergency manager/disaster contact” at each association member hospital and was designed to take less than 15 minutes to complete.

Main outcome measures: The survey sought to determine how children's hospitals address disaster preparedness, how prepared they feel for disaster events, and how CHA could support their efforts in preparedness.

Results: One hundred seventy-nine surveys were distributed with a 36 percent return rate. Seventy percent of respondent hospitals have a structure in place to plan for disaster response. There was a stronger level of confidence for hospitals in responding to local casualty events than for those responding to large-scale regional, national, and international events. Few hospitals appear to interact with nonmedical facilities with a high concentration of children such as schools or daycares.

Conclusions: Little commonality exists among children's hospitals in approaches to disaster preparedness and response. Universally, respondents can identify a disaster response plan and routinely participate in drills, but the scale and scope of these plans and drills vary substantially.


Keywords


emergency management, pediatrics disaster response, children's hospitals, disaster preparedness and response, disasters, regional disaster response, hospital disaster plans

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/ajdm.2015.0193

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