Community Remains Connected in a Crisis
Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Management Team Members have been meeting for what seems like months to prepare for the inevitable effects of COVID-19. When in reality has only been one month, these leaders have worked to guide their teams to transform their surroundings and rearrange their departments to best suit the needs of our patients and community as we prepare for the peak of this crisis. The Memorial Hospital emergency management team meets multiple times a week to discuss, staff safety, State recommended changes, advancements, supplies, and status of capacity and capability. Each person has a role that contributes to making sure Memorial is prepared in the best possible way to care for and protect our patients. Memorial’s communications and actions are not just limited to internal activities, Georgia Allen, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at Memorial Hospital, is an active member of the Randolph County Community Group Health and Medical Division and the HOPE (Healthcare Organizations Preparing for Emergencies) Coalition.
Allen typically meets with the Randolph County Community Group Health and Medical Division quarterly. These meetings have now turned into bi-weekly if not daily calls with members that include long-term care facilities, hospitals, rehab facilities, the Chester Mental Health Center, Menard Correctional Center, Randolph County Coroner’s office, Randolph County Emergency Medical Association, Medstar Ambulance, and the Sheriff’s office. This group of local organizations plans and shares emergency preparedness activities that they do at their facilities, and work together to put a countywide preparedness plan in place. Through this pandemic, the division has communicated daily to share resources, supplies, and collaborate on the policies and practices being implemented at various levels. Through constant communication and planning everyone shares the same goal, to keep our community safe.
Allen is also in constant contact with the HOPE Region 4 Coalition, which is made up of 11-Southwestern Illinois (SWIL) counties surrounding the St. Louis Metropolitan area. Allen has been attending quarterly in-person and monthly phone meetings over the past few years. Currently the group is meeting 3 times a week in response to the pandemic. The HOPE Coalition provides training and preparedness supplies for individuals, businesses and healthcare facilities. Through the healthcare preparedness grant, Memorial has had the opportunity to procure emergency equipment such as: a decontamination tent, containment tent for isolation, vaccine refrigerators and freezers for the clinics, multiple 2 way radios, hospital beds, cots, a transfer ventilator, oxygen carts, hand operated suction units, pharmaceuticals for emergency use, and portable handwashing stations, just to name a few. Through advanced planning and preparation, Memorial has developed a plan to help keep our community members safe during this pandemic. The tools, equipment, education, training, and constant communication with other organizations helps make us strong against this fight. By working together, we will all get through this.