Prepare Your Health Care Facility To Mop Up Water Loss Issues

December 21, 2011


Utilities can become a big cost when any facility is managed inefficiently. Wasted power, poorly maintained technology and incomplete prevention strategies all contribute to lost profits and higher monthly utility bills. In the everything-critical healthcare industry with constantly shrinking budgets and constantly rising patient loads, these monetary wastes can eventually prove dire.

Water is one of the most valuable resources on the planet and within your facility. Take care to manage the effects of water loss correctly to conserve and restore your water supplies, identify and obtain alternate potable water sources, maintain patient care management and monitor your heating/cooling systems. By activating your Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), the Command Center will be staffed with a well-trained Command Staff, one of the most critical elements to ensure minimal water loss. Your facility’s Command Staff will hold the responsibility of monitoring, maintaining, repairing, restoring and reporting water loss.

In addition to this lead team, your healthcare facility must also plan a support team of Section Chiefs responsible for the following areas: operations, planning, logistics and finance/administration. Each of these support teams performs important hospital tasks that help maintain established standards of patient care in the event of water loss emergencies and during times of water loss stability.

Operations – This group performs tasks such as:

  • Determining water loss impact
  • Instituting appropriate water rationing
  • Monitoring infection control practices
  • Ensuring the continuation of patient care and essential services
  • Initiating ambulance diversion procedures
  • Continuing the maintenance of other utilities
  • Diverting and restoring normal patient care operations

Planning – This team takes charge by:

  • Establishing operational periods, incident objectives and the Incident Action Plan
  • Preparing and carrying out for emergency evacuation patient and personnel tracking
  • Preparing the demobilization and system recovery plans
  • Planning for patient repatriation
  • Ensuring documentation of actions, decisions and activities
  • Compiling reports for the incident, hospital response and recovery operations
  • Conducting after-action reviews and debriefings

Logistics – The Logistics team manages:

  • Maintaining alternate utilities and activating alternative systems as needed
  • Obtaining supplemental staffing, as needed
  • Overseeing water main repairs and service restorations
  • Monitoring staff for adverse affects of health and psychological stress
  • Monitoring, reporting, documenting and following up on staff or patient injuries
  • Continuing transport services for internal operations and patient evacuation
  • Restock supplies, equipment, medications, food and water
  • Ensuring that IT/IS operations return to normal post evacuation and reinstatement

Finance/Administration – This team oversees:

  • Tracking costs, expenditures and lost revenue
  • Continuing contracting facilitation for emergency repairs and other services
  • Compiling final reports on costs, expenditures and lost revenue for Incident Commander approval
  • Contacting insurance carriers to assist damage documentation, initiate reimbursement and manage claim procedures

Water loss severely disrupts health care facility operations, however, having the proper staff and response plans in place will minimize your losses and return your operations to normal as soon as possible. Your facility management team will modify and add to the above response team tasks in order to create the most efficient plan for your organization’s incident. For your own detailed plan, or for more information on how a facility management partner provides incident and emergency assistance, please contact Vanguard Resources.