Research Article | Open Access
Healthcare Facility Evacuations: Lessons Learned, Research Activity, and the Need for Engineering Contributions
Over the past few years, there has been an increase in research related to a healthcare facility's role during a disaster. Most of this literature relates to emergencies where the facility is a resource to the affected population, and the facility must make decisions associated with sudden, increased patient demands. Some emergencies, however, may affect the facility's ability to function and may therefore force the need for a complete patient evacuation. This paper provides an overview of the available literature including lessons learned from actual healthcare facility evacuations and research focusing on making improvements. The purpose is to summarize a variety of healthcare evacuation issues and highlight the research in this area. We raise questions for further research and conclude with an example of using engineering techniques to improve healthcare facility evacuations by prioritizing patients for transport.
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