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ICU preparedness in pandemics: lessons learned from the coronavirus disease-2019 outbreak

Gavin Harris, Amesh Adalja
Date posted:
December 22, 2020
Publication type:
Curr Opin Pulm Med
Wolters Kluwer Health
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Purpose of review: The worldwide SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on ICUs worldwide. This review expounds on lessons learned for ICU preparedness during the pandemic and for future mass casualty events.

Recent findings: In the 21st century, there have already been several outbreaks of infectious diseases that have led to mass casualties creating ICU strain, providing multiple opportunities for hospitals and hospital systems to prepare their ICUs for future events. Unfortunately, the sheer scale and rapidity of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic led to overwhelming strain on every aspect of ICU disaster preparedness. Yet, by analyzing experiences of hospitals throughout the first 7 months of the current pandemic in the areas of infection control, equipment preparedness, staffing strategies, ICU spatial logistics as well as acute and postacute treatment, various important lessons have already emerged that will prove critical for successful future ICU preparedness.

Summary: Preemptive planning, beginning with the early identification of staffing resources, supply chains and alternative equipment sources, coupled with strong infection control practices that also provide for the flexibility for evolving evidence is of utmost importance. However, there is no single approach that can be applied to every health system.



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