Reverse Triage to Increase the Hospital Surge Capacity in Disaster Response
Introduction: Successful and effective management of large-scale disasters and epidemics requires pre-established systematic plans to minimize the damage and control the situation. With an increasing number of people in need of urgent medical care, hospitals must improve their response capacity, being at the forefront of responding to disasters and incidents. One way to develop the hospital capacity in disaster response is by reverse triage (RT). Objective: The current study was conducted to investigate the role of RT to create additional hospital surge capacity in one of the major referral academic hospitals of Isfahan, Iran. Method: This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2015 at Al-Zahra Subspecialty Hospital, Isfahan, Iran. The ten most common diseases leading to hospitalization in each ward of the hospital in 2014 were reviewed and, based on the prevalence, sorted and listed. Academic instructions for making a decision and possibility of early discharge was written and approved by an expert panel. On a day that was not set previously, the pre-selected in-charge person of each department was asked to run the RT following the instructions, and the number and percentage of those who were eligible for discharge via RT were determined. Results: The total BOR in Al-Zahra Hospital in 2014 was about 80%, so it was estimated that almost 140 out of 700 beds are vacant. The results showed that by using RT, 108 (20%) hospitalized cases could be discharged, and considering the bed occupancy rate of about 80% and 140 vacant beds, a total of 248 beds could be provided following RT. Conclusion: Running RT in 41 wards and units of Isfahan Al-Zahra Hospital, on average, added 108 beds to the hospital capacity. This increment is not the same in all wards, as the role of intensive care units in RT for surge capacity is insignificant.
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