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EXPLORING COMMUNITY, ENVIRONMENTAL AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH CONCERNS ASSOCIATED WITH HURRICANE SANDY

I. BACKGROUND
During a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, few facilities are as critical to the health and wellbeing of the public than hospitals. Hospitals and other health care facilities must ensure continuity of care for existing patients, while accommodating an influx of new patients requiring medical and emergency care. Unfortunately, hospitals are just as vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters as any other establishment, placing them at risk for compromised health care delivery. Emergency preparedness planning and response are essential to ensure the delivery of high-quality health care during this particularly vulnerable time.
In October 2012, the New York City coastal area experienced Hurricane Sandy, “the largest hurricane to have formed in the Atlantic Basin”, according to the National Hurricane Center. Coney Island Hospital, a 371-bed medical facility situated in the southern part of Brooklyn NY, was one of several hospitals affected by the storm. Despite well-constructed buildings that could withstand hurricane force winds, multiple back-up systems in the event of power failures and early planning and preparation, Coney Island Hospital was forced to evacuate over 200 patients as Hurricane Sandy flooded the hospital’s basement, where emergency power generators were stored. Coney Island Hospital is an example of hospitals across the country that plan for natural disasters and prepare to exponentially increase their health care services in a short amount of time under much duress. Coney Island Hospital appeared to be prepared; yet, they encountered an unexpected situation requiring one of the most challenging tasks undertaken by hospitals--evacuation of patients and staff during a hurricane while continuing to meet the health care needs of the community.

II. PROJECT DESCRIPTION
Compose a 6 to 8-page paper addressing the following: (not including cover and reference page)
1. Discuss the environmental effects of a hurricane.
2. Identify and describe at least two health or public health concerns that may result from the evacuation of a hospital during a hurricane. Propose mitigation strategies to reduce the risk associated with each concern.
3. Identify and describe at least two occupational health concerns for hospital staff during a hurricane.
4 Propose mitigation strategies to reduce the risk associated with each concern.
Responses should be presented in narrative form (not Q&A format). Be sure to address each question. Subtitles are recommended. Papers may not exceed 8 pages. (The title and reference pages are not included in the 8-page count). Papers must acknowledge APA format.

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Introduction

As a result of Hurricane Sandy, the bombing of the World Trade Center and the Edward R. Murrah buildings there have been significant changes made to processes and protocols to the American landscape impacting the way we live our lives. Conversely, as a result of the bombings in other parts of the world emergency preparedness for nurses in other countries as well as in the United States have had to be reassessed. Recently in the news the outbreaks of Ebola have underlined the lack of education and communication in terms of the outbreak not to mention the natural disasters the world has faced nurses must be prepared to deal with on a wide range of levels to be ready on a moment’s notice.

Natural disasters can come without warning, can be infrequent and escalating in magnitude. The scope of the disaster are multifaceted as such a healthcare professional in every specialty area must be prepared to respond and assist at every level. Dealing with all level of emergencies requires skills, knowledge and abilities which may be as yet untested until the emergency is right before us. While every scenario cannot be anticipated a healthcare professional must have a fundamental understanding of the strategies of coordinating disaster planning in the event the medical facility becomes inundated with patients....
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