Patient Decontamination Plan

In a mass casualty situation due to chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) events, triage is absolutely required for categorizing the casualties in accordance with medical care priorities. Dealing with a CBRN event always starts at the local level. Even before the detection and analysis of agents can be undertaken, zoning, triage, decontamination, and treatment should be initiated promptly.

According to Jagminas (2015), emergency departments (EDs) and emergency medical services (EMS) are responsible for managing potential chemical disasters, whether they result from industrial accidents or terrorist activities. In recognition of this responsibility, The Joint Commission (TCJ) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require EDs to prepare for hazardous material incidents.  In treating patients with chemical exposures, decontamination is of primary importance provided the patient does not require immediate life-saving interventions.

Any plan must include contingencies for contamination sources within the hospital and for ED evacuation. The determination of a workable hazardous materials plan requires careful thought and often professional input from medical toxicologists, hazardous materials teams, and industrial hygiene and safety officers.

Using a patient decontamination plan implemented without specific adaptation to the hospital and without practice can result in undesirable outcomes. Select a real-life scenario such as the Japan Earthquake and Nuclear disaster, which challenged hospital decontamination program.  Discuss whether your local community is prepared for such a situation and whether the required resources are available to manage a major disaster.

Reference: Jagminas, L. (2015). CBRNE Chemical Decontamination. Medscape. Retrieved on 19 Aug 2017 from MedSpace.

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