HealthcareSource Releases Strategic Recommendations to Enable Hospitals, Senior Living Facilities to Prepare Staff for Emergencies

Recent storms, mass shootings demonstrate need for emergency preparedness training

Woburn, Mass. – September 17, 2019 – In support of National Emergency Preparedness Month, HealthcareSource®, the leading provider of talent management solutions for the healthcare industry, has released strategic recommendations to enable hospitals, senior living facilities, and other healthcare organizations to prepare staff for emergency situations.

Mass casualty events such as major storms, mass shootings, and motor vehicle accidents often result in hospitals suddenly being overwhelmed with incoming patients. Emergencies such as power failures, cyberattacks, and environmental crises also require training to ensure staff and patient safety while addressing containment, risk mitigation, and continuous functioning of the facility under extreme conditions.  

“As events such as Hurricane Dorian and the recent mass shootings in Texas have shown us, the more prepared employees are, the more quickly and effectively they can respond to and recover from crisis situations,” said Michael Grossi, Chief Executive Officer, HealthcareSource. “Hospitals and senior living facilities prioritize the safety of patients and staff — planning ahead with staff preparedness measures can enable them to save lives and ensure the facility’s ongoing function. The importance of this preparation cannot be overstated.”

One frequently overlooked first step in emergency preparedness is hiring for the right soft skills in the first place. Adding specific emergency response skills requirements to all job descriptions, including cybersecurity skills in select administrative position descriptions, and integrating readiness skills into behavioral assessments and structured interview questions are two steps recruitment teams can take to help support emergency preparedness.

Any strategic emergency readiness plan should include regularly scheduled staff training throughout the organization for all types of emergencies, and establish protocols, such as:

  • A command center in the event of a facility-wide emergency
  • A process for connecting with staff, especially when normal lines of communication are down, as well other healthcare facilities, civil authorities, EMS, fire, and police
  • Scheduled and surprise drills to walk teams through the process for each type of emergency
  • Procedure for notifying family members and next of kin, including who is responsible for it and messaging for specific situations
  • Patient and resident evacuation processes, which can become life-and-death situations, especially for vulnerable populations in senior living facilities

Days before a man killed 22 people and injured 24 more at an El Paso Walmart, the University Medical Center of El Paso ran a crisis response exercise on a mass casualty event. “When the mass shooting occurred, we had no shortage of staff and everyone knew what they needed to do,” said Ryan Mielke, Director of Public Affairs for the hospital. “As ambulances were arriving, teams of physicians and nurses were at the ambulance entrance to take the victims in, begin triage and treatment. It was exceedingly well-ordered, and we only got there by preparedness and training.”

Additional recommendations, including how organizations can minimize and counteract the effects of a cyberattack and address the specific scenarios faced by senior living facilities, can be found in this resource from HealthcareSource.

About HealthcareSource
HealthcareSource® is the only comprehensive talent management suite designed specifically to support the healthcare talent ecosystem. Our software, services, content, and analytics enable more than 3,500 healthcare organizations, senior care providers, and staffing agencies, spanning over 6,000 locations, to ensure quality patient and client care by recruiting, retaining, and developing quality talent. HealthcareSource and its award-winning healthcare talent management solutions have been recognized by industry analysts and trade groups.

HealthcareSource Media Contact:
Norma Gaffin