Accreditation

Katrina's lessons for hospitals

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, October 1, 2005

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Training, communication critical for disaster planning

Learning objective: After reading this article, you will be able to

1. list five JCAHO standards relevant to disaster preparation.

Making rounds at Charity Hospital in New Orleans required resilience after Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast.

"The water was just pouring in," Ruth Berggren, MD, told television news network CNN on August 31. "We were dodging water, ceiling tiles."

Soon after one of the deadliest hurricanes in American history made landfall southeast of New Orleans on August 29, some of the levees protecting the city from Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River failed, allowing water to flood the city. The hurricane and ensuing flood waters cut power lines and contaminated drinking water.

The lack of power and clean drinking water and the resulting evacuation of a major American city may cause hospitals to revisit their disaster plans in the coming months, and accreditors and regulators may place added emphasis on preparedness to avoid future chaos.

Standards played out

The JCAHO has numerous standards governing emergency preparedness, including

  • EC.2.10 -The hospital identifies security risks

  • EC.4.10 -The hospital addresses emergency management

  • EC.4.20 -The hospital conducts emergency drills

  • EC.7.20 -The hospital provides an emergency electrical source
  • This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Briefings on Accreditation and Quality.

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