Has Your Ambulatory Care Center Planned How to Prevent Infections During Disasters?

Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS; Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN; Mark McCaulley, MD


September 20, 2013

In This Article

Infection Control During Disasters

When disaster strikes, every facility and member of the healthcare community has a role to play. Hospitals might become the focus of care for people in the affected region, but their capacity to cope with a large influx of patients can be quickly overwhelmed. Ambulatory care centers (ACCs) in the region must be ready to expand their operations, if necessary, to care for the surge of injured or ill patients during a disaster.

A big part of the preparation for such an event is to plan how to manage the increased risk for transmission of infectious disease that can accompany a disaster. To assist this effort, the Emergency Preparedness Committee of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) recently released Infection Prevention for Ambulatory Care Centers During Disasters.

Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, lead author of the guide and Associate Professor at Saint Louis University, College for Public Health and Social Justice -- Institute for Biosecurity, often travels around the country speaking to people about the critical importance of planning, finding that most ACCs currently have no infection control plans for disaster. It was clear that guidance must be made widely available to help ACCs, large and small, develop emergency management plans for infection control suited to their unique roles in the community during a disaster.

Medscape spoke with Dr. Rebmann, and guide contributor Mark McCaulley, MD, from Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, about the aims and goals of the guide and how ACCs can take full advantage of these evidence-based recommendations.


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