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Powered for Patients Research Shedding Light on Serious Gaps in Backup Power for Healthcare Facilities

The initial research conducted by Powered for Patients has identified serious gaps in backup power for healthcare facilities.

Key findings include the vulnerability of nursing homes and assisted living facilities without enough generator power to operate HVAC systems, a factor that can trigger unplanned evacuations in extended power outages. The initial research has also shown inconsistency across the country in terms of requirements for backup power in dialysis centers.   Powered for Patients (P4P) is the public-private sector initiative developed by Disaster Safety Strategies to protect patient health by helping to ensure proper backup power in healthcare facilities.

Further research is planned to provide deeper insight into current gaps in backup power for healthcare facilities. The research will help fuel policy recommendations to help better protect patient health by increasing the use and reliability of backup power for critical healthcare facilities.

To date, P4P researchers have conducted one on one interviews with federal and state emergency managers and public health officials. Research has also been conducted with generator industry representatives, safety code officials and engineers experienced in emergency operations for hospitals.

“Our initial research has shown that serious gaps exist in backup power for critical healthcare facilities,” said Cara Klein, project manager for P4P. “We need to conduct further research by building on our qualitative research with quantitative studies to validate our initial findings and dig deeper to better understand the key reasons for current gaps.”

Klein said key goals for additional research include gaining a better understanding of obstacles faced by healthcare facility operators when it comes to maintaining existing systems and ensuring that properly sized generators are in place to meet a facility’s needs.

The Powered for Patients initiative grew out of the lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy when power outages and generator failures impacted hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis centers and pharmacies.  The initiative is being led by key stakeholders including emergency managers, public health officials and private sector healthcare leaders who will collectively shape research and policy discussions leading to enhanced backup power in healthcare facilities.

Further research is planned and a report will be published in 2014 reflecting the complete findings of the research.