Disaster alternate care facility selection tool: New tools help emergency planners select alternate care facilities and transfer patients during disasters
(5 October 2009: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) --
Two interactive computer tools released today by HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will help emergency planners and responders select and run alternate care facilities during disaster situations. In such instances, hospitals experiencing a surge in seriously ill patients requiring acute care may need to transfer less ill patients efficiently to alternate care sites.
Alternate care facilities are locations that can easily and quickly be equipped to augment or replace health care services when hospitals and other traditional care sites are inoperable or overwhelmed. Potential alternate care sites include college campuses, gymnasiums, schools, community centers, health clubs, convention centers or climate-controlled warehouses.
“Identifying alternate care facilities ahead of time and knowing what it takes to get these sites up and running quickly is critical to ensuring the safest and best possible care for the public during a disaster,” said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. “Experience gained from recent hurricanes and other emergencies have made this a robust resource that is invaluable to emergency planners.”
The two tools allow users to input information on their specific medical care needs and receive feedback on which facilities can become alternate care sites or which patients can appropriately be moved to those sites.
A public health emergency can strain the capacity of hospitals and other traditional venues for medical services. In such emergencies, it may be necessary to select alternate facilities for providing medical care. Two new interactive computer tools, Disaster Alternate Care Facility Selection Tool and an ancillary tool, Alternate Care Facility Patient Selection Tool, will help institutions and communities select alternate care facilities and determine which patients to send to them.
Select to Download Information.
The Disaster Alternate Care Facility Selection Tool helps the user compare the features of actual sites with the features that are necessary for a given emergency. An ancillary tool, the Alternate Care Facility Patient Selection Tool, helps the user determine whether the health status of a given patient allows for transfer to an alternate site.
The Disaster Alternate Care Facility Selection tool helps institutions and communities select a temporary alternate care facility or facilities during a public health emergency over a small geographic area. The user rates the necessity of various features for a given facility in a give incident type and then enters the actual features for each facility under consideration. The tool automatically produces a comparison of the suitability of different potential facilities for a specific incident type. Up to six facilities can be compared.
The tools were developed under contract with the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and funded by HHS's Health Resources and Services Administration.
The Disaster Alternate Care Facility Selection Tool and Alternate Care Facility Patient Selection Tool are available in both Web and Excel® versions. You may download the Excel version of the tool from this page by using the link below. Right click on the link and then select "Save Target As" (Internet Explorer) or "Save Link As" (Firefox® or Netscape®). The Web version of the tool set is online only.
•Disaster Alternate Care Facility Selection Tool (Excel File, 170 KB; Excel Help ).
•Alternate Care Facility Patient Selection Tool (Excel File, 340 KB; Excel Help ).
Persons with disabilities experiencing technical problems accessing portions of the Excel file for this report should contact Derek Goldstein at Derek.Goldstein@ahrq.hhs.gov. The accessible version of the Patient Selection Tool will be available by October 30, 2009.
TOOL SET REQUIREMENTS: For these Excel worksheets to properly function, you must "Enable Macros" upon opening each file. The macro security level setting for Excel should be set no higher than "Medium," and you should use virus protection software. If you were not given a window allowing you to select "Enable Macros" upon opening this file, you may notice that many of the calculations will not work. With the file open in Excel, go to the "Tools" menu, select "Macro," select "Security," and then choose "Medium" from the "Security Level" tab. Contact your internal computer support department for help if needed.
Excel files can be accessed with free viewers if proprietary software is not available.
•Microsoft® Excel® files can be viewed with the Excel Viewer®, which can be downloaded free at: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=1cd6acf9-ce06-4e1c-8dcf-f33f669dbc3a
If you have any questions about the content of these tools, contact:
Sally Phillips at
Current as of September 2009
Disaster Alternate Care Facility Selection Tool. September 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/prep/acfselection/
Return to Vidyya Medical News Service for 5 October 2009
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