198166 Pediatric Disaster Preparedness in a Disaster Resource Hospital Network in Los Angeles County

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 4:30 PM

Darshi Balasuriya, MPH , Community Health Outcomes and Intervention Research Program, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Rizaldy Ferrer, PhD , Children Youth and Family Services Consortium, Alliant International University, Alhambra, CA
Ellen Iverson, MPH , Community Health Outcomes and Intervention Research Program, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Jeffery Upperman, MD , Pediatric Surgery, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Introduction: Emergencies and disasters could suddenly and significantly require hospitals to provide numerous services to a wide population including children. Studies indicate that children are a particularly vulnerable population during natural and man-made disasters. Although hospitals generally comply with disaster regulations set by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospital Organization, the extent of pediatric preparation is unclear and understudied. This IRB-approved study is designed to determine the level of preparedness for pediatric disasters and understand the barriers and needs of hospitals preparing for such disasters in Los Angeles County.

Methods: Disaster managers and key personnel from 11 of 13 hospitals in a disaster resource network were identified and interviewed. The face-to-face interviews included questions on pediatric disaster experience, plans, preparations, drills, barriers, needs and expectations of outcomes in the event of a pediatric disaster.

Results: Key informants reported high interest and support from hospital leadership in pediatric disaster preparedness. Most respondents, however, indicated that they lacked the knowledge and resources needed to prepare for pediatric emergencies. In addition, respondents also indicated communication problems with the local and county government agencies as well as community agencies that will play a key role in response coordination during a pediatric disaster.

Discussion: Interviews revealed pediatric disaster preparation gaps in technology, guidelines, resources, and coordination between agencies. These findings suggest a need for further studies, increased funding and improvements in technology and guidelines at a national level for pediatric care during disasters.

Learning Objectives:
1) Audience members will be able to explain the importance of pediatric disaster preparedness 2) Audience members will be able to describe at least three main barriers related to pediatric disaster preparations in Los Angeles area hospitals 3) Audience members will be able to list at least three needs concerning pediatric disaster preparedness in Los Angeles area hospitals

Keywords: Children, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been one of two members who have gathered and analyzed this data and I am a current employee at CHLA where the study has been approved and IRB approval has been attained.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.