Advanced Practice Toolkits for Emergency Preparedness

Health Care Decisions in Disasters: Engaging the Public

Health Care Decisions in Disasters: Engaging the Public on Medical Service Prioritization During a Severe Influenza Pandemic

A severe influenza pandemic would have a profound impact on the health care delivery system. Shortages of life-sustaining medical resources, including hospital beds, health care staff, intensive care unit resources, medical supplies, equipment, and medications are expected. Rationing of scarce resources and alterations in the standards of health care delivery are widely acknowledged to be necessary considerations in response to such large-scale health emergencies, yet there has been little public dialogue on these issues. As a result, the limited guidance that exists has not been directly informed by public values and opinions. To address this gap, Meredith Li-Vollmer, along with her team at the Public Health – Seattle & King County communications section sought out to engage the public to better understand the values and priorities regarding delivery of medical services and more specifically how those services will be allocated during a severe influenza pandemic. By involving the public, Public Health – Seattle & King County sought to inform the policies, plans, and guidelines about medical service prioritization developed in Washington State based on actual values and ethical perspectives held by the people who live in the region.

The full body of Meredith Li-Vollmer’s article can be found here.

Public engagement tools developed by the Seattle & King County APC can be found here.

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