• Mass Critical Care Surge Response during COVID-19: Implementation of Contingency Strategies A Preliminary Report of findings from the Task Force for Mass Critical Care

      Dichter, Jeffrey R; Devereaux, Asha V; Sprung, Charles L; Mukherjee, Vikramjit; Persoff, Jason; Baum, Karyn D; Ornoff, Douglas; Uppal, Amit; Hossain, Tanzib; Henry, Kiersten N; et al. (Elsevier Ltd., 2021-09-06)
      Background: Following the publication of 2014 consensus statement regarding mass critical care during public health emergencies, much has been learned about surge responses and the care of overwhelming numbers of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gaps in prior pandemic planning were identified and require modification in the midst of ongoing surge throughout the world. Methods: The Task Force for Mass Critical Care (TFMCC) adopted a modified version of established rapid guideline methodologies from the World Health Organization and the Guidelines International Network-McMaster Guideline Development Checklist. With a consensus development process incorporating expert opinion to define important questions and extract evidence, TFMCC developed relevant pandemic surge suggestions in a structured manner, incorporating peer-reviewed literature, “gray” evidence from lay media sources, and anecdotal experiential evidence. Results: Ten suggestions were identified regarding staffing, load-balancing, communication, and technology. Staffing models are suggested with resilience strategies to support critical care staff. Intensive care unit (ICU) surge strategies and strain indicators are suggested to enhance ICU prioritization tactics to maintain contingency level care and avoid crisis triage, with early transfer strategies to further load-balance care. We suggest intensivists and hospitalists be engaged with the incident command structure to ensure two-way communication, situational awareness, and the use of technology to support critical care delivery and families of patients in intensive care units (ICUs). Conclusions: A subcommittee from the Task Force for Mass Critical Care offers interim evidence-informed operational strategies to assist hospitals and communities to plan for and respond to surge capacity demands from COVID-19.