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 Table of Contents  
EXPERT COMMENTARY
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 54-55

Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: Improving hospital readiness to meet the rising health-related needs


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission30-Mar-2020
Date of Acceptance05-May-2020
Date of Web Publication29-Jun-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/IJAM.IJAM_26_20

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: Improving hospital readiness to meet the rising health-related needs. Int J Acad Med 2020;6:54-5

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: Improving hospital readiness to meet the rising health-related needs. Int J Acad Med [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Sep 24];6:54-5. Available from: http://www.ijam-web.org/text.asp?2020/6/2/54/287949




  Introduction Top


In the ongoing coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the number of reported cases continues to rise across the world, making it extremely difficult and challenging for the health system to respond to the rising health-care needs. This is clearly evident from the fact that it took 78 days for the global caseload to increase to 200,000 from the time, the first case was reported, but only 8 days to become triple and reach 600,000 cases.[1] This sudden rise in the number of cases has overwhelmed all the health-care delivery system, and eventually, the total tally has increased to 634,835 cases and 29,957 deaths worldwide, with 63,159 cases being reported in a single day.[1]

Further, it has been reported that in a single day, nations such as the United States of America, Spain, and Italy have reported 1893, 8189, and 5974 cases, respectively, which are too high. At the same time, the death load in Italy and Spain has increased to 10,023 and 5690, respectively, all of which pose an immense burden on the national health system.[1]

Role of hospitals in COVID-19 readiness

It is quite obvious that hospital plays a critical role in improving the health and well-being of the population in such times of public health emergencies, but due to the sudden upsurge and the prolonged nature of the disease, the possibility of hospitals being overwhelmed cannot be ruled out. Hospitals are complex institutions and will always require support from different sectors (such as water, power, transportation, and biomedical waste) to remain operational to its utmost potential.[2]

In general, most of the hospitals, even in normal days in most of the settings, are functional to their total capacity, and they become overwhelmed even with a modest rise in hospital admission rates. However, in the times of COVID-19 pandemic, it is extremely important to prepare hospitals to improve their capacity, outbreak readiness, and response plan.[2],[3] A well-prepared hospital even during responding to emergencies should be able to continue to deliver essential services, launch a well-coordinated implementation plan, establish a network of precise and specific internal and external communication with various stakeholders, rapidly adapt to the rising needs, should be able to optimally utilize and allocate available resources, and finally, continue to provide a safe environment for the health professionals.[2]

Improving the readiness of hospitals

In order to improve the readiness of hospitals to be well equipped with the desired resources to respond to the needs of the patient, a checklist has been formulated.[2] This checklist can be utilized by the hospital administrators to not only check their readiness but also to amplify it further. The first and foremost component of the checklist is to establish a well-operational incident management system, which can activate all other essential components and stakeholders for putting up a better response.[2] This has to go hand in hand with the estimation of the surge capacity, which refers to the extent to which a health system can expand their health care and still not compromise the quality of offered services. The containment of an infectious disease in a hospital is not possible unless there is an infection prevention and control program targeting patients, hospital staff, and visitors as well.[2],[3],[4]

Other recommendations

However, for the improved case management and better health outcomes without exposing the other categories of patients to the risk of acquisition of infection, an efficient triage system should be there, which is well supported with the necessary infrastructure and logistics for providing optimal care.[2] None of these planned services can be successfully implemented, unless they are supplemented with improved laboratory services to promptly diagnose the cases, adequate human resources to extend care and functional supply chain management required for procurement, and supply of essential commodities, including personal protective equipment and disinfectant.[3]

It is extremely important to note that while these activities are happening for the containment of the COVID-19, none of the essential emergency services should be jeopardized, and the communication system of the hospital has to be strengthened to aid the administrators to take prompt decisions.[4] Finally, the optimal patient care during this pandemic will also depend immensely on the support rendered by other essential departments (viz., laundry, waste management, and dietary).[2],[5]


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, there is an indispensable need to improve the hospital readiness to respond to the sudden upsurge in the caseload of the COVID-19. The adherence to the formulated checklist will aid the hospital authorities to design their effective response without getting overwhelmed or compromising their emergency services.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 69; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200329-sitrep-69-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=8d6620fa_2. [Last accessed on 2020 Mar 30].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization - Regional Office for Europe. Hospital Readiness Checklist for COVID-19-Interim Version. Copenhagen: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-26.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-20.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization. COVID-19: Operational Guidance for Maintaining Essential Health Services During an Outbreak - Interim Guidance. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-10.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
World Health Organization, UNICEF. Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, and Waste Management for the COVID-19 Virus. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-4.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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