There is an ongoing and established need for humanitarian training and professionalization. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted training programs designed to accomplish this goal, including the Humanitarian Response Intensive Course, which includes a three-day immersive simulation to prepare humanitarian workers for future field work. To provide program continuity, the three day simulation was quickly adapted to a virtual format using a combination of video conferencing, short messaging service, and cloud-based file storage software. Participants were geographically dispersed and participated virtually. Learning objectives were preserved while some components not amenable to a virtual format were removed.
A virtual humanitarian training simulation is a feasible, acceptable, and affordable alternative to an in-person simulation. Participants were engaged and experienced minimal technological disruptions. The majority of students felt the format met or exceeded expectations. However, feedback also emphasized the importance of providing sufficient time for team collaboration and deliverable preparation in the simulation schedule. The virtual format was more affordable than the traditional in-person simulation and diverse expert faculty who could not have attended in-person were able to participate. This format could be used to overcome other barriers to in-person simulation training, including geographic, financial, time, or security.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) has helped to reduce global disaster risk, but there has been a lack of progress in disaster risk reduction (DRR) for people living in fragile and conflict affected contexts (FCAC). Given the mounting evidence that DRR cannot be implemented through conventional approaches in FCAC, serious efforts must be made to understand how to meet SFDRR's goals. This paper offers a case study of international non-governmental organization GOAL's programming that responds to the protracted crisis in Syria, with a critical discussion on SFDRR and how to adapt humanitarian relief and disaster resilience.
Objective: To analyze the evacuation preparedness of hospitals within the European Union (EU).
Method: This study consisted of 2 steps. In the first step, a systematic review of the subject matter, according to the PRISMA flow diagram, was performed. Using Scopus (Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands), PubMed (National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD), and Gothenburg University´s search engine, 11 questions were extracted from the review and were sent to representatives from 15 European Union (EU)- and non-EU countries.
Results: The findings indicate that there is neither a full preparedness nor a standard guideline for evacuation within the EU or other non-EU countries in this study. A major shortcoming revealed by this study is the lack of awareness of the untoward consequences of medical decision-making during an evacuation. Some countries did not respond to the questions due to the lack of relevant guidelines, instructions, or time.
Conclusion: Hospitals are exposed to internal and external incidents and require an adequate evacuation plan. Despite many publications, reports, and conclusions on successful and unsuccessful evacuation, there is still no common guide for evacuation, and many hospitals lack the proper preparedness. There is a need for a multinational collaboration, specifically within the EU, to establish such an evacuation planning or guideline to be used mutually within the union and the international community.
Introduction: It is expected that in unforeseen situations, nurses will provide appropriate medical interventions, using their expertise and skills to reduce the risks associated with the consequences of disasters. Consequently, it is crucial that they are properly prepared to respond to such difficult circumstances. This study aimed to identify the factors influencing the basic competences of nurses in disasters.
Materials and methods: The survey was directed to 468 nurses from all medical centres in Lublin. IBM SPSS Statistics version 23 was used for statistical analyses, frequency analysis, basic descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis. The classical statistical significance level was adopted as α = 0.05.
Results: Based on the logistic regression analysis, it was found that work experience, workplace preparedness, as well as training and experience in disaster response are important predictors of preparedness.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that the nurses' core competencies for these incidents can be improved through education and training programmes which increase their preparedness for disasters. Nurses are among the most important groups of healthcare professionals facing a disaster and should be involved in all phases of disaster management, such as risk assessment and pre-disaster planning, response during crisis situations and risks’ mitigation throughout the reconstruction period.
Background: Effective preparedness to respond to mass casualty incidents and disasters requires a well-planned and integrated effort by all involved professionals, particularly those who are working in healthcare, who are equipped with unique knowledge and skills for emergencies. This study aims to investigate and evaluate the level of knowledge and skills related to mass casualty and disaster management in a cohort of healthcare professionals.
Methods: A cross-sectional brief study was conducted using a validated and anonymous questionnaire, with a sample of 134 employees at a clinical hospital in Lublin, Poland.
Results: The findings of this study may indicate a need for standardization of training for hospitals employees. It also suggests a knowledge gap between different professional groups, which calls for adjusting such general training, to at least, the weakest group, while special tasks and mission can be given to other groups within the training occasion.
Conclusion: Pre-Training gap analyses and identification of participants’ competencies and skills should be conducted prior to training in mass casualty incidents and disasters. Such analyses provides an opportunity to develop training curriculum at various skill and knowledge levels from basic to advance. All training in mass casualty incidents and disasters should be subject to ongoing, not just periodic, evaluation, in order to assess continued competency.
Disasters and public health emergencies are inevitable and can happen anywhere and anytime. However, they can be mitigated and their impacts can be minimized by utilizing appropriate measures in all four different phases of disaster management, i.e., mitigation and prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Several factors are crucial for achieving successful disaster management. Altogether, this Issue offers new insights into emergency and public health crisis management from a multiagency perspective and allows discussion about new potential risks; lessons learned; and the introduction of new concepts such as flexible surge capacity, and shows some new aspects of practicing multiagency collaboration before, during, and after disasters and public health emergencies.
Introduction: Historical changes have transformed Sweden from being an offensive to a defensive and collaborative nation with national and international engagement, allowing it to finally achieve the ground for the civilian–military collaboration and the concept of a total defense healthcare. At the same time, with the decreasing number of international and interstate conflicts, and the military’s involvement in national emergencies and humanitarian disaster relief, both the need and the role of the military healthcare system within the civilian society have been challenged. The recent impact of the COVID-19 in the USA and the necessity of military involvement have led health practitioners to anticipate and re-evaluate conditions that might exceed the civilian capacity of their own countries and the need to have collaboration with the military healthcare. This study investigated both these challenges and views from practitioners regarding the benefits of such collaboration and the manner in which it would be initiated.
Material and Method: A primary study was conducted among responsive countries using a questionnaire created using the Nominal Group Technique. Relevant search subjects and keywords were extracted for a systematic review of the literature, according to the PRISMA model.
Results: The 14 countries responding to the questionnaire had either a well-developed military healthcare system or units created in collaboration with the civilian healthcare. The results from the questionnaire and the literature review indicated a need for transfer of military medical knowledge and resources in emergencies to the civilian health components, which in return, facilitated training opportunities for the military staff to maintain their skills and competencies.
Conclusions: As the world witnesses a rapid change in the etiology of disasters and various crises, neither the military nor the civilian healthcare systems can address or manage the outcomes independently. There is an opportunity for both systems to develop future healthcare in collaboration. Rethinking education and training in war and conflict is indisputable. Collaborative educational initiatives in disaster medicine, public health and complex humanitarian emergencies, international humanitarian law, and the Geneva Convention, along with advanced training in competency-based skill sets, should be included in the undergraduate education of health professionals for the benefit of humanity.
Humanitarian aid workers are an overlooked population within the structure of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research and assistance. This negligence is an industry-wide failure to address aid workers’ psychological health issues. The suspected numbers of death by suicide, diagnosed PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, hazardous alcohol and drug consumption, emotional exhaustion, and other stress-related problems are impossible to quantify but are considered endemic. Tools for establishing organizational frameworks for mental health and psychosocial support are readily available. However, the capacity to implement this assistance requires the creation and practice of an open and non-judgmental culture, based on the realistic acceptance that aid work has become inherently dangerous. The possibility of developing a psychological problem because of aid work has increased along with the rise in levels of disease, injury, kidnapping, and assault. As a result, expressions of traumatic stress have become the norm rather than an exception. This commentary outlines the essential steps and components necessary to meet these requirements.
Disasters and public health emergencies are inevitable and can happen anywhere and anytime. However, they can be mitigated and their impacts can be minimized by utilizing appropriate measures in all four different phases of disaster management, i.e., mitigation and prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Several factors are crucial for achieving successful disaster management. In the mitigation and preparation phase, all risks should be reviewed and new ones should be added and analyzed carefully to propose proper solutions and plans. In the preparedness phase, the ability and knowledge of each organization and all individuals in the management system should be tested and evaluated to ensure good readiness in responding to an emergency. Furthermore, plans should be available at all levels of the emergency chain of action to cope with all issues in the response and recovery phases [1,2]. This Issue of Sustainability aimed to cover emergency and public health crisis management from a multiagency perspective, by discussing lessons learned, introducing new ideas about flexible surge capacity, and showing the way it can practice multiagency collaboration.
Successful management of an event where healthcare needs exceed regional healthcare capacity requires coordinated strategies for scarce resource allocation. Publications for rapid development, training, and coordination of regional hospital triage teams manage the allocation of scarce resources during COVID-19 are lacking. Over a period of 3 weeks, over 100 clinicians, ethicists, leaders, and public health authorities convened virtually to achieve consensus on how best to save the most lives possible and share resources. This is referred to as population-based crisis management. The rapid regionalization of 22 acute care hospitals across 4500 square miles in the midst of a pandemic with a shifting regulatory landscape was challenging, but overcome by mutual trust, transparency, and confidence in the public health authority. Because many cities are facing COVID-19 surges, we share a process for successful rapid formation of healthcare care coalitions, Crisis Standard of Care, and training of Triage Teams. Incorporation of continuous process improvement and methods for communication is essential for successful implementation. Utilization of our regional healthcare coalition communications, incident command system, and the crisis care committee helped mitigate crisis care in the San Diego and Imperial County region as COVID-19 cases surged and scarce resource collaborative decisions were required.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused clinicians at the frontlines to confront difficult decisions regarding resource allocation, treatment options, and ultimately the life-saving measures that must be taken at the point of care. This article addresses the importance of enacting Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) as a policy mechanism to facilitate the shift to population-based medicine. In times of emergencies and crises such as this pandemic, the enactment of CSC enables concrete decisions to be made by governments relating to supply chains, resource allocation, and provision of care to maximize societal benefit. This shift from an individual to a population-based societal focus has profound consequences on how clinical decisions are made at the point of care. Failing to enact CSC may have psychological impacts for healthcare providers particularly related to moral distress, through an inability to fully enact individual beliefs (individually-focused clinical decisions) which form their moral compass.
Objectives: Biological weapons are one of the oldest weapons of mass destruction used by man. Their use has not only determined the outcome of battles, but also influenced the fate of entire civilizations. Although the use of biological weapons agents in a terrorist attack is currently unlikely, all services responsible for the surveillance and removal of epidemiological threats must have clear guidelines and emergency response plans.
Methods: In the face of the numerous threats appearing in the world, it has become necessary to put the main emphasis on modernizing, securing, and maintaining structures in the field of medicine which are prepared for unforeseen crises and situations related to the use of biological agents.
Results: This article presents Poland’s current preparation to take action in the event of a bioterrorist threat. The study presents both the military aspect and procedures for dealing with contamination.
Conclusions: In Poland, as in other European Union countries fighting terrorism, preparations should be made to defend against biological attacks, improve the flow of information on the European security system, strengthen research centers, train staff, create observation units and vaccination centers, as well as prepare hospitals for the hospitalization of patients—potential victims of bioterrorist attacks.