Surge Capacity Management Plan
Increases or surges in the demand for critical care services, whether through expected fluctuations or unpredictable events (such as H1N1 pandemics), can pose significant risks to capacity and the ability to deliver necessary health care services. The Surge Capacity Management Plan, rolled-out in March 2009, offers healthcare providers the information necessary to manage surges in demand for critical care resources in a timely and patient-focused manner.
The Surge Capacity Management Plan provides hospitals and staff with standardized protocols that should be applied in order to handle increases in patient volumes without compromising patient safety, emergency department wait times or surgical wait times. Hospitals were given the tools to develop and implement local surge action plans that would enable hospitals to use alternate human resource strategies, equipment and technology to manage minor and moderate surges.
Ontario’s Ventilator Stockpile
As the province is increasingly faced with unpredictable threats like H1N1, or peaks of critical care activity during the regular flu season, there is potential for an increase in the number of critical care patients requiring mechanical ventilation. In 2009, Critical Care Secretariat collaborated with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Emergency Health Services Branch to plan and implement a Provincial Ventilator Stockpile strategy that would ensure that the province would be fully prepared in the case of a demand surge caused by peaks of critical care activity and to mitigate larger-scale threats such as H1N1.
A total of 216 ventilators were procured, and a comprehensive review of the critical care system was conducted to establish a plan for ventilator storage across 16 strategically selected host hospitals. Hospitals requesting access to the Provincial Ventilator Stockpile should follow the ‘Ontario’s Ventilator Stockpile – Guidance Document’ for more details. This document is available from CCSO.