News Briefs: JCAHO responds to Sept. 11 tragedy

Along with the horror of Sept. 11, there were thousands of stories of heroism and how individuals and organizations came together to respond to tragedy. Now, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has put together a special edition of its newsletter, Perspectives, that covers issues raised by the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania. Among the topics covered in the special issue of the newsletter are:

• Using JCAHO standards as a starting point to prepare for an emergency. Learn about the modified emergency management standard requirements, including the focus on mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

• Revised Environment of Care Standards for the Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals. Language of standards and intents on emergency management has been clarified.

• What the survey process expects of your organization. This article includes sample questions that may be asked during a survey.

• Analyzing your vulnerability to hazards. A hazard vulnerability analysis identifies the disasters that are most likely to strike your organization, your community, and their probable impact if they were to occur.

• Adapting tools to the task ahead. A failure mode, effect, and criticality analysis, essentially a proactive risk analysis, can be modified to fit an organization’s needs to analyze risks that could disrupt care or services.

• Developing practical emergency management education programs. Six priority education areas are identified and explored.

• Preparing for a mass casualty event. Includes an emergency management checklist.

• Lessons learned. Includes sections on how to manage people and resources effectively; being prepared; communications needs; caring for your own staff during and after an emergency; decontamination; common symptoms to exposure to contaminants; and dealing with a natural emergency. (For more on the latter, see "Natural disaster reaction averts a Houston disaster," in this issue.)

The newsletter also lists informative web sites and other emergency management resources. To view a copy of the newsletter, visit the JCAHO web site at www.jcaho.org.