Because of unique vulnerabilities of children, their special needs should be addressed in hospital disaster planning to ensure that health care providers and health care facilities are prepared to meet the needs of this vulnerable population.
As a parent, you are in the best position to help your child in the event of a disaster. Just as you talk to your child’s doctor about his or her health, such as what to do when your child is sick or hurt, you can also talk to your child’s doctor, mental health professional, or someone at your child’s school who can help you and your child after a disaster.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) developed The Pediatric Preparedness Resource Kit in response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. This resource allows for pediatricians, public health leaders and other pediatric care providers to assess what is already happening in their community or state, and help determine what needs to be done before an emergency or disaster. The kit will promote collaborative discussions and decision making about pediatric preparedness planning.
To help address availability and inaccessibility of resources for pediatric disaster preparedness, the EMS for Children Program developed an information network of resources targeting health providers, emergency and community planners, and families.
The primary purpose is to help communities achieve an optimal level of emergency readiness for children who are involved in an environmental, health, or man-made disaster.
The special medical needs of children make it essential that health care facilities be prepared for both pediatric and adult victims of bioterrorism attacks, including those resulting from dispersal of airborne or foodborne agents.1, 2 Moreover, while terrorist attacks on the United States have provoked the development of guidelines for hospital responses to acts of bioterrorism, few have focused on pediatric facilities.2 Compounding the problem is that many disaster plans that have been designed for children’s hospitals are not designed to accommodate large numbers of contagious individuals capable of disseminating highly lethal infectious agents.
This document is designed to address the topic of converting pediatric hospitals from standard operating capacity to surge capacity in response to large numbers of children with communicable airborne and foodborne agents.
Particular aspects of emergency care for children may be especially difficult for rural hospitals to meet as they often have less access to pediatric and emergency medicine trained physicians.
The attached study “Pediatric Care in Rural Hospital Emergency Departments”, was compiled using data analysis which compared rural and urban hospitals’ responses on various dimensions of pediatric ED care:
Created by experts at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles as a deliverable for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthcare Facilities Emergency Care Partnership Program Grant, the Information included in this document is based on learnings from the 2009 H1N1 Influenza outbreak that began in early 2009. The information is intended to provide supplementary recommendations for pediatric pandemic influenza planning and can be used as an addendum to a larger pandemic planning document.
Children have important physical, physiologic, developmental, and mental differences from adults that can and must be anticipated in the disaster planning process. Plans must ensure that health care facilities and medical providers are prepared to meet the medical needs of children of all ages and developmental stages.
To support the reunification of unaccompanied minors and separated or missing children with their parents or legal guardians in the aftermath of a disaster, the attached document entitled “Post Disaster Reunification of Children: A Nationwide Approach” was developed.