AHRQ develops protective tools for children during emergency states

March 17, 2009

Children who are in the hospital or in school during a public health emergency now have two new measures in place to protect them, thanks to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Children who are in the hospital or in school during a public health emergency now have two new measures in place to protect them, thanks to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The first AHRQ tool involves guidelines to help pediatric hospitals run at surge capacity levels and aid community hospital emergency departments in dealing with large numbers of critically ill children. The tool focuses on communications, staff responsibilities, triaging, stress management, and security concerns related to children with various diseases or communicable illnesses.

A national model for school-focused emergency response planning is the focal point of the second AHRQ tool. There are guides to developing and managing a school-centered emergency response plan. Topics addressed include training modules for school staff, informing parents of the plan, steps regarding building security and safety, and how to prepare significant emergencies.

The Center for Biopreparedness, a division of Harvard Medical School, prepared both sets of guidelines under contract to AHRQ.

The tools, Pediatric Hospital Surge Capacity in Public Health Emergencies and School-Based Emergency Preparedness: A National Analysis and Recommended Protocol, can be found on AHRQ's Web site, or via email or by calling 800-358-9295.

More details about other AHRQ projects can be found online here.