Providing health relief during a disaster is one of the most vital aspect of any territorial emergency system as catastrophic events require the participation of several health care components. In this scenario, the hospital pharmacy plays a decisive role in supplying the drugs needed to ensure effective and professional healthcare services, even in the most critical conditions, as it represents the most suitable source of pharmaceutical and pharmacological information.
The hospital pharmacy is one of the fundamental cornerstones for an effective and efficient performance of rescue operations before and during a catastrophe. Participating and contributing to key aspects of disaster preparedness such as:
- Formulation of operational protocols;
- Staff training;
- Continuous updating of the therapeutic disaster guide;
- Finding critical drugs;
- Stock organisation;
The hospital pharmacy is also involved in updating the stocks of drugs needed in case of a disaster, in order to guarantee assistance to the affected population.
European List of Emergency Medicines (ELEM): An EAHP resource for pharmaceutical preparedness in case of emergencies and disasters
The EAHP Board of Directors embarked on a project to create a European List of Emergency Medicines (ELEM) as a support tool for clinicians, pharmacists and institutions in providing effective healthcare to patients in post-disaster or emergency situations.
The project resulted in a report and two excel templates. The first excel template is a disaster medicine assessment template which is based on the most relevant WHO emergency list and adapted to a European scenario. It also includes a calculation sheet that quantifies the number of drugs needed based on the number of patients and a self-assessment indicator that allows each hospital to rapidly evaluate its percentage of compliance with the proposed ELEM.
The second excel template is a disaster stock management template which enables the management of drug stocks during an emergency, automatically updates the quantity of stock available and keeps notes regarding all restock and withdrawal movements through a printable form.
The report explores the most common causes of natural disasters in Europe, their consequences and the role of the hospital pharmacy for effective and efficient performance of rescue operations before and during the catastrophe. The report outlines how the ELEM was created including the criteria used and the considerations made which are specific for Europe, such as the reliable availability of different medicines.