A Framework for Catastrophic Disaster Response

Inova Health System, Falls Church, Virginia, USA.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 35.29). 08/2012; 308(7):675-6. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2012.8171
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Caring for severely injured patients, whether they be in the theater of combat or after natural disasters, can be a rewarding and even life-changing experience for all involved. Sound surgical principles and an attempt to achieve a high standard of care should still guide the treating surgeon. The surgical team undoubtedly face numerous obstacles, but with careful and considerate planning, many of these can be minimized.
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    ABSTRACT: Documentation of the patient encounter is a traditional component of health care practice, a requirement of various regulatory agencies and hospital oversight committees, and a necessity for reimbursement. A disaster may create unexpected challenges to documentation. If patient volume and acuity overwhelm health care providers, what is the acceptable appropriate documentation? If alterations in scope of practice and environmental or resource limitations occur, to what degree should this be documented? The conflicts arising from allocation of limited resources create unfamiliar situations in which patient competition becomes a component of the medical decision making; should that be documented, and, if so, how? In addition to these challenges, ever-present liability worries are compounded by controversies over the standards to which health care providers will be held. Little guidance is available on how or what to document. We conducted a search of the literature and found no appropriate references for disaster documentation, and no guidelines from professional organizations. We review here the challenges affecting documentation during disasters and provide a rationale for specific patient care documentation that avoids regulatory and legal pitfalls. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2013;0:1-7).
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
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