Riverside Shore Memorial practices safe evacuation of patients

NASSAWADOX VA   December 2013  –  At a moment's notice, hospital staff must be prepared to keep patients safe during extraordinary circumstances.  "The best way to be ready," said Dr. Susan McAndrews, Vice President and Administrator at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital, "is to practice what is in the plan.  So that's exactly what we did."

On November 15th, Riverside Shore Memorial, in cooperation with Riverside Health System's Emergency Management Team, staged a mock evacuation of the Intensive Care Unit.

Volunteers from the Virginia Department of Health's Eastern Shore Medical Reserve Corps gave Academy Award-worthy performances as patients with a variety of conditions serious enough to land them in Intensive Care.  In this staged simulation, power was disrupted, and Riverside team members were drilled on how to best protect patients who were on lifesaving electrical equipment and needed to be moved to another area of the hospital.   

Normal operations in the ICU were not affected, and extra staff were brought in ahead of time to care for the unit's actual patients who did not participate.  Exercise leaders had the authority to cancel the drill at any time if they believed it was interfering with patient care in the hospital.

A team of evaluators observed the action and took notes, and an immediate follow up debriefing – called a "hot wash" - enabled participants to give feedback on what worked and what did not.  Later an "after action report" will guide hospital leaders in making any necessary improvements.

"Our goal is to identify and fix any flaws in our ability to respond to a crisis before we are faced with a real scenario.  We also tested our medical teams' ability to provide excellent, compassionate care in a stressful environment.  We have to make it seem real in order to learn anything.  We did very well, and I am so proud that our team members' commitment to their patients never wavered," said McAndrews.

Published: December 10, 2013



 

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