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Lessons learnt for enhancing hospital resilience to pandemics: A qualitative analysis from Italy
journal contributionposted on 2023-09-04, 10:49 authored by Rossella Marmo, Federica Pascale, Lorenzo Diana, Enrico Sicignano, Francesco Polverino
The COVID-19 pandemic has outlined the need to strengthen the resilience of healthcare systems. It has cost millions of human lives and has had indirect health impacts too. Hospital buildings have undergone extensive modifications and adaptations to ensure infection control and prevention measures, and, as it is happened following past epidemics, the COVID-19 experience might change the design of hospital buildings in the future. This paper aims to capitalise on the knowledge developed by the stakeholders directly involved with the hospital response during the pandemic to generate new evidence that will enhance resilience of hospital buildings to pandemics. The research adopted qualitative research methods, namely literature review and interviews with Italian experts including doctors and facility managers to collect data which were analysed through a thematic analysis. The findings include the identification of new needs for hospital buildings and the related actions to be taken or already performed at hospital building and service level which are viable for long term implementation and are aimed at improving hospital resilience to pandemics. The results specify how to improve resilience by means of structural modifications (e.g. placing filter zones among different wards, ensuring the presence of airborne infection isolation rooms at least in the emergency departments), technological changes (e.g. oversizing capacity such as medical gases, information technology improvement for delivering healthcare services remotely), and operational measures (e.g. assessing the risk of infection before admission, dividing acute-care from low-care assets). The needs discussed in this paper substantiate the urge to renovate the Italian healthcare infrastructures and they can be considered useful elements of knowledge for enhancing hospital resilience to pandemics in the extended and in the post-COVID-19 era.
Publication titleInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
- Accepted version