Whether your hospital faces severe weather or an emergency that requires you to evacuate your patients, having an evacuation plan is key to keeping everyone safe. Evacuating younger patients can be challenging, but with a few preparations, your staff and your young patients can make their way to safety in an emergency. Here are just a few things to consider as you prepare your hospital for a possible emergency situation.
Complete An Emergency Assessment
Before you look into creating a plan and investing in emergency evacuation equipment, you'll want to perform an assessment of the children's unit to determine any possible obstacles you'll need to overcome during an emergency. This assessment should also account for different types of emergencies. For example, your response to a fire will differ from your response to pending inclement weather. You won't be able to use elevators in a fire, but if you are evacuating your hospital in anticipation of a hurricane, you may still be able to use elevators to transport patients to the exits. You should also include an assessment about available nearby resources for transporting your pediatric patients once the hospital is evacuated. After your assessment is complete, you'll be better able to create a plan.
Invest In Emergency Evacuation Equipment
Emergency evacuation equipment for children and infants will be different from the equipment you use for adults. Evacuation cradles can be used for infants in your NICU ward and for infants and toddlers in the rest of your pediatric unit. These cradles feature shoulder straps that let your staff move the infants, and they can be customized to hold IV poles and medications. Infant evacuations chairs can be used in the nursery to acommodate several infants at a time. For older children who can sit up, you can use pediatric evacuation chairs, which are designed to better negotioate stairs and obstacles while keeping younger children safely in the seats. You'll also want to equip your staff with medical backpacks to carry portable oxygen tanks and other medical equipment for your youngest patients.
Practice Evacuation Drills
Once you have your equipment purchased and a plan in place, be sure to do regular evacuation drills with your staff. Practice using the equipment and coordinating care for children during the mock disaster. Have a staff member supervise each drill to assess the weak spots in the plan so you can revise it as you go along. You should consider practicing for each type of emergency evacuation you might face and don't forget to include an evacuation plan for parents who are staying with their children in the hospital.
Keep a copy of your emergency evacuation plan in every nurse's station, and include information about the plan on the back of each hospital room door so parents and visitors can familiarize themselves with where they will need to go. With research and planning, you can care for your youngest patients in virtually any situation.
For more information, contact local professionals like Advanced Egress Solutions.
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