Reducing patient surge: community based social networks as first responders

By Alan Kirschenbaum

Reducing patient surge: community based social networks as first responders

From the latest Article by Alan Kirschenbaum. the full article can be found on

A major challenge for health services worldwide is in providing adequate medical care during mass disasters. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlights this difficulty. Patient surge, a consequence of most types of disasters that contribute to trauma experiences, is a primary factor in disrupting such care as it is composed of worried well persons and those experiencing psychosocial trauma that can severely disrupt and overwhelm effective acute hospital based health care. We review the literature and propose a potential solution framework to reduce such a surge that relies on exploiting community social networks as first responders. We utilize and integrate literature based evidence on patient surge, community disaster behaviors and community based informal social networks to examine reasons for patient surge to hospitals. We then propose that leveraging community based social networks as a potent deterrent for non-critically injured, especially those who have experienced psychosocial trauma or the worried well, from seeking hospital care during ongoing disasters. By emphasizing the social capital inherent in community based social networks, this perspective posits an alternative cost-effective means of reducing patient surge.

the full article can be found at

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