Field Hospitals for COVID-19 Medical Response: Practical Thoughts
Governmental organizations and health officials are feverishly swinging into gear to help combat COVID-19. For many, the driving concern is “flattening the curve” to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed at any one time and to ensure the most critical cases continue to receive care.
Thus many field hospitals are being planned and set up to increase the bed capacity for local medical providers.
Many of these field hospitals will use medical tents from shelter manufacturers that we partner with on a regular basis. Once the decision to establish such a facility is made, then next decision must be where to locate it.
Where are these medical tents constructed?
Emergency medical shelters are usually erected in parking lots, fields, or even stadiums and other event venues. When the latter are selected, that means there is generally already an existing structure that must be re-purposed. However, when either of the former are selected, a facility must be quickly erected, which usually means tents.
Having a fabric roof over patients’ and providers’ heads is absolutely necessary. It protects patients, medical teams, and equipment. But, what about under their feet? What is needed to make these emergency shelters safer, stronger, and more protective?
Emergency medical tent flooring
Most of these hospital tents have some sort of fabric floor. The right tent flooring is a crucial part of the set up because once you take what is normally inside work, outside, everything gets harder.
Planning an outdoor field hospital is complicated. There are plenty of questions that need answers—beyond the tent structure and the ground solution that supports it. Below are just a few of those questions:
- What happens when it rains?
- How do you keep water out of your work area?
- How do you prevent constant traffic from turning non-paved areas into mud-pits?
- How do you prevent mud from getting tracked inside?
- How hard is it to clean and keep a sanitized environment?
- How easy is it to push a wheeled gurney or wheelchair through dirt or grass?
- How do you keep the fabric floor (if you have one) from getting ripped?
- How do you ensure your providers have a safe and stable environment on which to work?
Hardened, plastic flooring like HDPE ground panels would go a long way to addressing these questions. The best options will allow for drainage, get the medical shelters off the ground, enable easier patient transport, provide for a clean and safe walking and working environment, and will allow for easier cleaning and sanitation.
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