A new survey tool for evaluating pandemic preparedness in health services

Nicole McGill, Jennifer Weller-Newton, Catherine Lees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Background
Rapid decision-making with limited resources and prior research to draw upon posed challenges for health service leaders globally when preparing for COVID-19. How do health services prepare for a pandemic and evaluate if the preparation has been effective? This study aimed to explore health workers’ perceptions and knowledge regarding preparedness for COVID-19 at a regional health service in Australia.
Methods
A 32-item online survey was developed to evaluate preparedness across five scales: 1) Clinical, 2) Communication, 3) Environment, 4) Human Resources, and 5) General Preparedness. Data were analyzed using parametric and non-parametric statistics and qualitative content analysis.
Results
Ninety-three employees completed the survey, with most working in clinical roles (58.1%). Respondents largely felt the health service was well-prepared (84.0%) and they were personally prepared (74.4%) to respond to COVID-19. Clinical and communication scale scores varied by role type. Respondents faced personal risk and resource shortages impacted their sense of safety; others felt adequately supported.
Conclusions
A coordinated “whole hospital response”, accessible and inclusive communication, education, adequate resourcing, and employee wellbeing supports are necessary when preparing health services for sentinel events. This survey tool offers health services an approach to evaluating pandemic preparation. Continued advocacy for resources and wellbeing needs of health workers is paramount in future preparations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Volume22
Issue number708
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2022

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