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Considerations for Hospital and Healthcare Facility Evacuations
Complex in even the best of circumstances, facilities must be especially mindful of evaluation procedures in a pandemic environment, both with confirmed COVID-19 patients and those who may be exposed to them as a result of evacuation efforts, according to the National Law Review.
In addition, if a facility identifies a risk that civil unrest in its community could lead to staff or patient harm, a decision for the facility to shelter in place and lock down is the first course of action to consider to safeguard staff and patients.
Should the circumstances be such that shelter-in-place is not sufficient to ensure safety of staff and patients, a partial or complete evacuation may become necessary.
Deciding which patients are evacuated and when (e.g., sickest patients first or ambulatory patients first), also presents medical ethics questions. Facilities should incorporate elements of an evacuation plan, with logistics and alternatives mapped out, as part of their emergency preparedness plans to permit quick action as circumstances require.