Hospitals and other healthcare facilities play a crucial role in national and local responses to emergencies, such as communicable disease outbreaks. In our region, hospital management has established mechanisms for developing and implementing a hospital emergency safety management program, which is designed to ensure the effective management of the risks of internal and external emergencies, including pandemics.


To assess and explore the preparedness of the emergency departments in Saudi Arabia at tertiary hospitals toward a future pandemic.


A cross-sectional survey was conducted at tertiary hospitals. One hundred forty healthcare providers who are working in the emergency department were surveyed, and the response rate was 75% (105).


Participants were predominately female (60 (57.1%)), with a bachelor’s degree (72 (68.6%)) and had more than 10 years of experience in their profession (46 (43.8%)). The study revealed that, namely, the junior emergency department staff were poorly trained on average all areas of pandemic preparedness. Healthcare providers reported that the highest implemented measures related to safety/ infection control, emergency department management, and response were, respectively: support N95 respirator fit testing (2.77 (SD = 0.44)), infection prevention techniques (2.85 (SD = 0.39)) and provide criteria for patient assessment (2.72 (SD = 0.51)). On the other hand, the lowest implemented measures were for a unit pandemic safety plan, palliative care, and determined alternate transport resources with a mean of 2.04 (SD = 0.75), 2.22 (SD = 0.83), and 2.19 (SD = 0.80) respectively.


The findings of this study support the need for formalized pandemic preparedness training, developing a pandemic safety plan to protect the community and healthcare professionals, improving palliative care during and after the pandemic, and defining strategies to allocate healthcare resources.

Keywords: COVID 19, Emergency department, Pandemic, Preparedness, Management, Health care facilities.
Fulltext HTML PDF ePub