Pandemic responsiveness in an acute care setting: a community hospital’s utilization of operational resources during COVID-19
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.
CommentsThe original article is available at https://www.dovepress.com/
Published CitationMcLean 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 Date14 June 2022
- Undergraduate Research
PublisherDove Press Ltd
- Published Version (Version of Record)