The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2004 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

RESPIRATORY CARE DISASTER PREPAREDNESS IMPROVEMENT PLAN.

John Newhart RCP, Richard M Ford RRT FAARC UCSD Medical Center, San Diego CA.

Overview:
Respiratory Care Departments are mandated to have a current disaster plan. At our medical center, the plan was due for review and revision. In addition, it was a concern that staff were not familiar with many aspects of the current plan. We formed a special team to evaluate mechanisms to improve staff awareness and understanding of disaster preparedness. Create new systems and programs to improve response to disasters, including education, policy changes and equipment and supply organization. To evaluate the effectiveness of the new program, we elected to monitor staff’s awareness of disaster preparedness before and after specific initiatives were implemented

Methods: A survey questionnaire was developed that included 20 questions related to important aspects of disaster preparedness. The survey was distributed prior to initiatives and repeated 30 days after several programs were implemented. The programs implemented included revision and distribution of a refined policy, development in collaboration with staff of a call-back list requiring all staff to understand their role regarding being called in to work, several sessions were conducted to better educate staff, including formal inservices and role playing in which staff took on responsibility for managing a specific aspect of disaster response.

Results: 40 respiratory care personnel returned surveys for a response rate of 38%. The mean score on the survey prior to the initiatives indicated an awareness score of 74%. The re-survey indicated an awareness score of 91%. Compared to the earlier test, staffs understanding of disaster response improved from 74% to 91%.

Discussion: The efforts to improve staff awareness and the new policy systems created by the Disaster Preparedness Team were effective in improving the knowledge staff has about their important role in implementing initiatives. A simple survey instrument can be beneficial to quantify staff’s level of understanding.

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