How Hospitals Should Prepare For COVID-19

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The Coronavirus pandemic has hit the United States quickly, with cases rising by hundreds or thousands every day by the end of March. Hospitals have been on the front lines, taking in needy patients suffering from fever, dry cough, and sometimes shortness of breath. Every hospital’s goal is to treat every patient that comes in the door well without compromising worker safety to do so. This hasn’t always been possible, but hospitals that have yet to experience a heavy caseload would do well to prepare. To do this, here’s how hospitals should prepare for COVID-19.

Communicate With the Public

In order to take in people who need urgent help, hospitals and primary physicians must communicate with patients about their symptoms. To ensure quality care for everyone, certain people with milder, non-life-threatening cases should avoid coming to the hospital. Also, hospitals can play a role in educating the public through their partnership with media sources. Doctors are credible sources of health-related information in a time when many crave that information. Their words can encourage people to social distance properly, sanitize smartly, and prevent the spread so fewer patients need the hospital.

Bolster Communication With Staff

In this time of uncertainty, you’ll need strong communication channels for your staff. You should make the chain of communication clear to everyone so you don’t unnecessarily overwhelm any segment of your staff. Also, consider implementing communication devices to limit how many workers are near infected patients. For example, using two-way radios and following some tips for their efficient use can keep workers in the know about patients’ statuses without requiring them to put on Protective Personal Equipment (PPE).

Protect Your Staff So They Can Treat Patients

Another way hospitals should prepare for COVID-19 is by taking measures to support and protect staff beyond bolstering communication. Take inventory of your PPE, particularly N95 masks. If you have gaps in your supply as cases increase, communicate with your local or federal government about your needs. Additionally, stick to sanitation protocol to limit worker exposure to the virus. Though treating every patient will strain your people and resources, preventing a spread amongst your medical professionals will keep them on the front lines for longer. One final note—make sure they always know you support them. Be creative and genuine about showing your appreciation for them, perhaps by eliciting support from the grateful public.

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