Key factors must be taken into account in determining the need for and allocation of scarce ventilators during a severe pandemic, especially one causing respiratory illness. Strategies to help state and local planners in allocating stockpiled ventilators to healthcare facilities, including pre-pandemic actions and actions to be taken during the pandemic, are detailed in an article published in Health Security.
Lisa Koonin, Health Preparedness Partners, and colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coauthored the article titled “Strategies to Inform Allocation of Stockpiled Ventilators to Healthcare Facilities During a Pandemic.” Prior to a pandemic, planners should determine existing inventories and facilities’ ability to make use of additional ventilators in the event of a public health emergency. This information needs to be updated at the time of a pandemic.
Determining where to allocate stockpiled ventilators should be based on an assessment of need, the consideration of ethical principles discussed in the article, the ability of facilities to absorb additional ventilators, and the ability to ensure access to ventilators for vulnerable or high-risk populations.
“Ventilators will be pivotal to saving countless lives in this COVID pandemic. Understanding the CDC’s plans and recommendations for state and local planners around ventilator management in this kind of crisis will be key for helping them make decisions under very difficult conditions,” says Editor in Chief Thomas V. Inglesby, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore.