New tool to help hospitals prepare for emergencies

Hospitals help to provide communities with essential medical care, particularly in crises or disasters. To promote and give technical support to emergency preparedness for hospitals, WHO/Europe has published a “Hospital emergency response checklist”.

The tool can help hospital administrators and emergency managers to respond effectively to the most likely disaster and crisis scenarios. It comprises principles and current best practices for hospital-based emergency management, and brings together the priority actions required for rapid, effective response to a critical event, based on an all-hazards approach, which covers a large range of possible effects of risks and emergencies.

The checklist covers key components, each with a list of priority actions to support hospital managers and emergency planners in achieving:

  • continuity of essential services;
  • well-coordinated implementation of hospital operations at every level;
  • clear and accurate internal and external communication;
  • swift adaptation to increased demands;
  • effective use of scarce resources; and
  • a safe environment for health care workers

The checklist should complement existing multisectoral plans for hospital emergency management and augment standard operating procedures. It is also intended to be used for training and capacity building.