December 30, 2019 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance
Healthcare facility evacuations are becoming more common. Because internal or external situations may require either partial or total evacuation, healthcare organizations should assess their organization's risks, devise a comprehensive evacuation plan, and test the plan. The plan should incorporate strategies to conduct planned and unscheduled evacuations.
Many events could force a facility to evacuate some or all of its residents. Types of External Emergencies and Disasters explores the hazards associated with external disasters that could force an evacuation.
Unless directed by government mandate, healthcare facilities have the authority to determine whether and when it is in their residents' best interests to evacuate or shelter in place. Unfortunately, major disasters continue to occur, yet they provide lessons learned and offer opportunities for facilities to learn how to better prepare for an evacuation.
There are different types of evacuations. An isolated fire or loss of power in one part of the building would not necessarily require the entire facility to be evacuated. Risk managers should become familiar with the following definitions related to evacuations (MDPH):
When considering renovating an older facility or building a new one, remember that the traditional floor plan, placing administrative suites, gift shops, pharmacies, and cafeteria services on the first floor while nonambulatory and high-acuity patients are on higher floors, adds to the complexity when evacuating patients. Some authors contend that the floor plans should be reversed. The "flipped" version of the floor plan would locate the high-acuity patients, who need assistance with evacuating, on the ground floor. (Tzeng...