All hospitals that provide maternity services should implement a standing perinatal subcommittee in charge of disaster preparedness, which can be mobilized quickly in the event of an emergency, according to new recommendations from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The committee opinion offers recommendations for hospital disaster preparedness for obstetricians and facilities providing maternity care. Among the additional ACOG recommendations:
- All hospitals should be familiar with the ACOG and Society for Maternal–Fetal Medicine (SMFM) levels of maternal care designations and should have integrated regional referral networks based on these levels.
- Hospitals with maternity services should develop specific strategies for stabilizing and transporting obstetric patients, managing surge capacity and the need for consultative services, sheltering-in-place, and incorporating regional facilities that do not provide maternity services.
- Disaster preparedness may include a designated obstetric team that can be called upon in an emergency setting or implemented as part of a planned evacuation.
- Communication strategies should include back-up broadcast systems.
- Obstetric units should have a designated safe location for laboring patients who cannot be transported because of imminent delivery.
- Ensuring that the woman and her infant are transported together is a vital element of disaster planning.
- Obstetricians and other obstetric care providers should consider the option of altering obstetric services to function with less resource use.
Hospital disaster preparedness for obstetricians and facilities providing maternity care. Committee Opinion No. 726. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol. 2017;130:e291–7.
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