The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2007 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS – “WILL YOU COME TO WORK?" – AN EMPLOYEE SURVEY

B. Downs1, R. Willis1, P. Easley1, N. DePalo1, G. Lowe1, M. Heulitt1, 2


Introduction:
Little is known about the response rate of respiratory care staff to allow for adequate disaster planning. Respiratory care staff from a pediatric facility were surveyed on whether they would be willing to come to work in a given disaster scenario. The survey was developed to determine projected staffing levels as part of a disaster preparedness plan.

Hypothesis:
In developing a realistic disaster preparedness plan, Respiratory Care Services Administration will be faced with the lack of available manpower as the major limiting factor in the delivery of care to patients, depending on the severity of the specific disaster scenario (i.e. Plane Crash, Natural Disaster, Chlorine Gas Explosion, Tuberculosis Outbreak or Avian Flu Outbreak).

Methods: A 12-Question, Likert-scale survey was distributed to 170 respiratory care staff. In order to encourage participation prior to the survey, meetings were held and employees were assured the results would be anonymous.

Results: Of the 170 potential responders, 75% of staff responded to the survey.

Conclusions: When developing a health care institution disaster preparedness plan, the level of risk to caregivers is the pivotal factor in determining accurate staffing projections. Future planning requires attention to factors that may improve staff response including education regarding the potential risk.

Disaster Scenario Percentage of staff reporting to work
little or no risk to a caregiver (Chlorine Gas Explosion) 94% of staff would report to work
moderate risk of infection but a low chance of death (Tuberculosis Outbreak) 62% of staff would report to work
high risk of infection and a high risk of death (Avian Flu Outbreak) 14% of staff would report to work
effective treatment were available for staff and their family members 57% of staff would report to work
hospital provided a safe place for staff and their family members 50% of staff would report to work
Personal protective equipment were available 57% of staff would report to work
hazard pay were available 45% of staff would report to work
Willingness to remove support from a patient, so that a more viable patient could receive the support, if directed by a physician. 58% of staff indicated their willingness to remove support from a patient



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