Being prepared to serve our communities during times of disaster, of all types, is a responsibility that HCA takes very seriously.  During the first week of June, representatives from each HCA hospital and division office participated in a “Boot Camp” to prepare for infectious disease crises.  Last fall, Ebola dominated the headlines in this country.  The seven patients treated in the US and the thousands of patients screened taught us a lot about our strengths as well as the challenges of responding to this type of crisis.

Boot Camp Participants practice fine motor skills while wearing protective equipment
Boot Camp Participants practice fine motor skills while wearing protective equipment

The HCA Boot Camp was a two-day course preparing HCA facilities to manage infectious disease crises.  Attendees learned how to respond to infectious disease outbreaks, and how to sustain training, equipment, and supplies so each facility is prepared to treat patients while maintaining staff safety.

The HCA Boot Camp wasn’t just a classroom experience.  Attendees actually donned protective gear for four hours!  They performed simulated care activities wearing the protective gear, learning firsthand the challenges caregivers face while tending to patients.

Since 2001, the federal government, as well as states and communities have been building resilience to support communities and healthcare assets during a disaster.  At HCA, we’ve taken it one step further by implementing a comprehensive emergency preparedness and management program.  The Infectious Disease Boot Camp marks an expansion of that program to help ensure our readiness for a new type of disaster—new and old infections that have the potential to overwhelm communities and health services. Through our diligent preparations, including comprehensive disaster drills, training and education, our hospitals will be as ready as possible to respond to the needs in their communities.

Boot Camp participants practice caring for a patient wearing protective equipment
Boot Camp participants practice caring for a patient wearing protective equipment