The onset of COVID-19 required hospitals to consider how they planned to care for large numbers of patients who needed acute care. A 341 licensed bed hospital needed to prepare a surge plan to accommodate their average daily census of non-COVID patients and an additional projected 400 COVID patients.
By gathering key stakeholders and using strategic facilitation techniques and data, the organization was able to successfully develop surge plans that would allow them to safely care for the projected number of patients. A combination of strategies included:
- Re-structing inpatient units to accommodate appropriate patient care
- Pausing elective procedures
- Converting clinics to inpatient units
- Re-deploying staff from closed clinics to acute care
- Team nursing
The four-phase plan was created and reviewed on a regular basis to adapt to rapidly changing projections. The hospital activated 3 phases throughout the course of the pandemic, and the solid plan that accounted for staffing and capacity made it easy to move from phase to phase.
Fortunately, the large-scale surge plan was never fully deployed. However, as operations returned to normal, the organization continued to refer back to that particular surge plan to accommodate new surges of patients. The Pacific Northwest experienced an unprecedented heat wave in June 2021 and the hospital was able to safely accommodate a huge influx of critical and acute patients by referencing the existing COVID-19 Surge Plan.