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Is Your Pharmacy Prepared for a Crisis Situation Like the Boston Marathon Tragedy?

  • May 28, 2013
  • RPh on the Go

A situation like the one that occurred at the Boston Marathon can happen anywhere. Being prepared to handle a crisis or emergency situation is crucial to providing care and services to those injured in a bombing, natural disaster, or other scenario where a high rate of injury has occurred. Keeping staff trained and informed on what to do in the event of a crisis is just one way that a pharmacy can ensure that its staff acts with precision and decorum in a crisis situation.

Allocating your pharmacy members where they are most needed to help support medical teams, patients, and families of those affected by a tragedy or disaster is critical. Having your staff aware of their designated post in case of such an emergency situation will cut down on stress and time wasted assigning people tasks on the spot. Be sure to allow your staff adequate support to properly address the needs of your community in its time of need. Overburdening staff members is understandable in times of high need, however–allowing for extra pharmacists on staff to replace those whom may have been working non-stop is another small way to keep stress levels to a minimum. Having fresh and ready to go staff ensures fewer mistakes, level heads, and keeps your medical team working at its full capacity.

Being able to make the best decisions for your team in the event of a crisis is important. Knowing what is important to your team to have in place, what staff you have available, ensuring you have proper supplies in the event of an emergency, and that all staff members are trained to use all equipment they may come into contact with is crucial. Filling in missing gaps, or brushing up on rarely used skills that could be crucial in a crisis is also beneficial.

Having a contingency plan and ensuring that your pharmacy or team is adequately staffed and able to respond to a crisis effectively in the event of an emergency is tantamount. Ensuring that you have the staff on hand to address any emotional needs that patients may have is another thing that should be discussed in your emergency preparedness briefings or drills. Often, patients will still be coming in after the initial wave of disaster–some with injuries, and others with psychological distress or emotional suffering to address. Being sure that all members of your team are able to support each other, patients, and the community they serve as a disaster unfolds is an important part of any pharmacy’s trainings.

How has your pharmacy prepared for an emergency situation? What makes a crisis team effective, or completely ineffective? What are some things that you wish were discussed at emergency drills? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

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