Surge Hospitals: Providing Safe Care in Emergencies

06 Apr 2020, Posted by Jaime Pacilio in Healthcare Facility Rules

Summary: This paper was downloaded from The Joint Commission website on April 2, 2020; it is based on 5 case studies of surge hospitals that were established along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. (link to The Joint Commission)

1.  Goal   to provide “information to healthcare planners at the community, state, and federal level about what surge hospitals are, the kind of planning they require, how they can be set up, and who should be responsible for their establishment and operation.”

2.  Type of Surge Hospitals include

     Shuttered Hospitals or Closed Wards.

  • The best approach might be for an existing hospital or other health care organization to acquire the shuttered hospital as a satellite so that patient services like lab and pharmacy can be extended to the satellite.
  • An environmental crew should go in first to clean the facility and “ensure that the water, air, and general environment are sanitary and adequate for their intended use.”

     Facilities of Opportunity

  • Non-medical buildings that can be adapted into surge hospitals due to their size and/or proximity to a hospital. Examples cited, in addition to the case studies, include “exhibition halls, empty warehouses, airport hangars, schools . . . or hotels.”
  • Medical facilities used for other purposes, such as an ASC, can be adapted at a minimal cost and effort.
  • Mobile medical facilities, such as 18-wheelers, that have been properly fitted to provide care in an emergency.
  • Portable facilities (i.e., “hospitals in a box”) that can be set up quickly and are “fully equipped, self-contained, turnkey systems”
  • Project ER One: “a prototypical emergency care facility developed by Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.”
3.  Case Studies:
  • Katrina Clinic: 100,000 s.f. clinic with 65 Exam Rooms set up in Reliant Arena, a building adjacent to the Houston Astrodome.
  • Dallas Convention Center: 8,200 s.f. surge facility with 11-bed urgent care center and 20-bed chronic care center.
  • Basketball Arena and Field House at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge: The arena became an 800-bed acute care hospital, and the Field House became a Special Needs Hospital.
  • Empty Former Retail Store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Veterinary Hospital in College Station, Texas was transformed into a special needs shelter. This building had an emergency generator and was plumbed with medical gases which made it “an ideal model for the surge hospital in a catastrophic situation.”

Copy of the downloaded paper:  Surge Hospitals_Paper from The Joint Commission