Surge Capacity of Hospitals in Emergencies and Disasters With a Preparedness Approach: A Systematic Review
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OBJECTIVE: Surge capacity is one of the most important components of hospital preparedness for responding to emergencies and disasters. The ability to provide health and medical care during a sudden increase in the number of patients or victims of disasters is a main concern of hospitals. We aimed to perform a systematic review of hospital surge capacity in emergencies and disasters with a preparedness approach. METHODS: A systematic review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The key words "surge," "surge capacity," "preparedness," "hospital emergency department," "hospital," "surge capability," "emergency," "hazard," "disaster," "catastrophe," "crisis," and "tragedy" were used in combination with the Boolean operators OR and AND. The Google Scholar, ISI Web of Science, Science Direct, PubMed, Scopus, Ovid, Pro Quest, and Wiley databases were searched. RESULTS: A total of 1008 articles were extracted and 17 articles were selected for final review of surge capacity based on the objective of the study. Seventeen studies (1 randomized controlled trial, 2 qualitative studies, and 14 cross-sectional studies) investigated the surge capacity of hospitals in emergencies and disasters to evaluate the best evidence to date. The results of selected articles indicated that there are various ways to increase the capacity of hospitals in 4 domains: staff, stuff, structure, and system. CONCLUSION: Surge capacity is a basic element of disaster preparedness programs. Results of the current study could help health field managers in hospitals to prepare for capacity-building based on surge capacity components to improve and promote hospital preparedness programs.