Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness

Research Article

Evaluation of Hospital Mass Screening and Infection Control Practices in a Pandemic Influenza Full-Scale Exercise

Stephan A. Kohlhoff c1, Bindy Crouch, Patricia M. Roblin, Baruch Fertel, Darrin Pruitt, Debra E. Berg, Jeremy Weedon, Bonnie Arquilla and Michael Augenbraun

ABSTRACT

Objective: Nonpharmacologic interventions such as limiting nosocomial spread have been suggested for mitigation of respiratory epidemics at health care facilities. This observational study tested the efficacy of a mass screening, isolation, and triage protocol in correctly identifying and placing in a cohort exercise subjects according to case status in the emergency departments at 3 acute care hospitals in Brooklyn, New York, during a simulated pandemic influenza outbreak.

Methods: During a 1-day, full-scale exercise using 354 volunteer victims, variables assessing adherence to the mass screening protocol and infection control recommendations were evaluated using standardized forms.

Results: While all hospitals were able to apply the suggested mass screening protocol for separation based on case status, significant differences were observed in several infection control variables among participating hospitals and different hospital areas.

Conclusions: Implementation of mass screening and other infection control interventions during a hospital full-scale exercise was feasible and resulted in measurable outcomes. Hospital drills may be an effective way of detecting and addressing variability in following infection control recommendations.

(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2012;6:378-384)

(Received April 21 2011)

(Accepted April 16 2012)

Key Words

  • pandemic influenza;
  • disaster planning;
  • infection control;
  • mass screening;
  • triage

Correspondence

c1 Correspondence: Stephan A. Kohlhoff, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, 450 Clarkson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11203 (e-mail: skohlhoff@downstate.edu).

Author Affiliations: State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York (Drs Kohlhoff, Fertel, Weedon, Arquilla, and Augenbraun and Ms Roblin); University of Cincinnati, Department of Emergency Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio (Dr Fertel); and NewYork City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, New York (Drs Crouch, Pruitt, and Berg).