April 4, 2024

Hospitals curtail outpatient care, ramp up staffing in advance of solar eclipse

Editor's Note

Monday’s solar eclipse has prompted hospitals in affected areas to implement precautionary measures in advance of an expected influx of visitors as well as potential communication and other difficulties, Becker’s Hospital Review reported April 2.

Areas in the path of totality, which stretches from Central Texas to Northeastern Maine, will experience a total blackout of the sun for as long as 4 minutes, the report says, noting that NASA estimates put the total population of this area at 31.6 million.  

Cities in this area are likely to see congested roads, spotty cell phone coverage and more emergency department visits. Cautionary measures implemented by hospitals quoted in the Becker's article include curtailing outpatient care; preparing alternate methods of communication; allowing staff to spend the previous night at work to avoid traffic delays; ramping up staffing; stocking up on resources; and strategically planning ambulance locations.

In related news, JAMA Network reminded readers of safe viewing practices for solar eclipses on March 8.

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