What To Know About Preparing Your Hospital for Winter

What To Know About Preparing Your Hospital for Winter

By Daisy Lau

December 5, 2023

Here comes winter. Whether it’s a mild one or months filled with ice and snow, you need to prepare your hospital for whatever the season dishes out. Hospital staff must be ready for icy, snowy, or frozen contingencies to protect their patients, ensure healthcare is available to all, and keep business as usual. Here’s what to know about preparing your hospital for winter.

Know What To Expect

You probably know what to expect from your region’s climate. The further south you go, the less of a wallop winter delivers. Even so, winter in your area likely brings hazards and inconveniences. Be aware of the effects of precipitation, temperatures, and conditions and how they impact patient health and your facility. Blizzards bring blinding snowstorms that cause snow to accumulate on roofs, leading to potential collapses. Icy rain can make pedestrians slip and fall. Low temperatures increase the odds of frostbite. Be prepared for the injuries and trauma brought about by freezing temperatures and winter precipitation.

Keep Warm

Cold air makes patients uncomfortable, especially those suffering from frostbite and hypothermia. Make sure all patients are warm and that their rooms are kept at a comfortable 70–75 degrees Fahrenheit. We suggest servicing your HVAC system before the season begins.

Hotel PTAC units with heat pumps can provide heat in individual rooms and work more efficiently than forced air systems. Don’t forget about your staff’s comfort, as well! They’ll work much more efficiently in temperature-controlled rooms, and they won’t suffer from the ill effects of cold weather.

Protect Your Staff

Speaking of hospital staff, their health might be compromised in the winter. Provide plenty of hand washing stations and personal protective equipment to shield them from bacteria, viruses, and other disease-transmitting factors. Encourage them to wear face masks, as well. Offer jackets and other warm clothing to fight off the winter chill.

The custodial staff should keep the parking lots clear of snow, walkways free from ice, and the floors are mopped and dry. Winter can lay your staff low with a basic cold. Don’t let it!

Prepare for the Worst

If you’re still wondering what to know about preparing your hospital for winter, here’s our final tip: Prepare for the worst. Anticipate being short-staffed. Schedule more doctors, nurses, and assistants to combat the influx of patients and deal with staff illnesses. Arrange a place for staff to stay overnight in case anyone gets snowed in or the weather is so severe that it’s too dangerous to go outside. Encourage hospital staff to create overnight bags with extra clothing, toiletries, and other amenities. If they must stay overnight at the hospital, make it comfortable for them.

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