Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
JMDH-361896-pandemic-responsiveness-in-an-acute-care-setting--a-communit.pdf (3.89 MB)

Pandemic responsiveness in an acute care setting: a community hospital’s utilization of operational resources during COVID-19

Download (3.89 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2022-07-28, 09:32 authored by Jesse McLean, Cathy Clark, Aidan McKee, Suzanne Legue, Jane Cocking, Amanda Lamarche, Corey Heerschap, Sarah Morris, Tracey Fletcher, Corey McKee, Kristal Kennedy, Leigh Gross, Andrew Broeren, Matthew Forder, Wendy Barner, Chris Tebbutt, Suzanne Kings, Giulio DiDiodato

Background: To ensure continuity of services while mitigating patient surge and nosocomial infections during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, acute care hospitals have been required to make significant operational adjustments. Here, we identify and discuss key administrative priorities and strategies utilized by a large community hospital located in Ontario, Canada.

Methods: Guided by a qualitative descriptive approach, we performed a thematic analysis of all COVID-19-related documentation discussed by the hospital's emergency operation centre (EOC) during the pandemic's first wave. We then solicited operational strategies from a multidisciplinary group of hospital leaders to construct a narrative for each theme.

Results: Seven recurrent themes critical to the hospital's pandemic response emerged: 1) Organizational structure: a modified EOC structure was adopted to increase departmental interoperability and situational awareness; 2) Capacity planning: Design Thinking guided rapid infrastructure decisions to meet surge requirements; 3) Occupational health and workplace safety: a multidisciplinary team provided respirator fit-testing, critical absence adjudication, and wellness needs; 4) Human resources/workforce planning: new workforce planning, recruitment, and redeployment strategies addressed staffing shortages; 5) Personal protective equipment (PPE): PPE conservation required proactive sourcing from traditional and non-traditional suppliers; 6) Community response: local partnerships were activated to divert patients through a non-referral-based assessment and treatment centre, support long-term care and retirement homes, and establish a 70-bed field hospital; and 7) Corporate communication: a robust communication strategy provided timely and transparent access to rapidly evolving information.

Conclusion: A community hospital's operational preparedness for COVID-19 was supported by inter-operability, leveraging internal and external expertise and partnerships, creative problem solving, and developing novel tools to support occupational health and community initiatives.


RVH Foundation



The original article is available at

Published Citation

McLean J, et al. Pandemic responsiveness in an acute care setting: a community hospital’s utilization of operational resources during COVID-19. J Multidiscip Healthc. 2022;15:1309-1321.

Publication Date

14 June 2022

PubMed ID



  • Undergraduate Research


Dove Press Ltd


  • Published Version (Version of Record)