Outline how you would plan the ICU response to an influenza epidemic, including in your answer how you would increase resources.
Activate ICU/Hospital pandemic plan, if available.
Liaison / pandemic planning with other departments within the hospital, ambulance services, ICUs of other hospitals and state department of health.
Surveillance & early detection of influenza patients.
Increase ICU bed capacity.
Increase ICU healthcare staffing levels.
Anticipated need for ICU equipment – identify where additional equipment can be resourced (ED, OR etc.)
Infection control measures to reduce the spread to other patients and ICU staff. Provision of antiviral prophylaxis / virus vaccine (if becomes available) for the staff. Establish real-time communication link with laboratory and healthcare administration.
Increased ICU bed capacity:
The question could be easily answered by a person who is intimately familiar with the summary statement of the Task Force for Mass Critical Care of the American College of Chest Physicians, as well as the recommendations of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine Task Force for Intensive Care Unit Triage during an Influenza Epidemic or Mass Disaster.
The answer suggested below incorporates their recommendations, as well as the suggestions from the college answer, and the LITFL article on this topic which is heavily exam-oriented. The LITFL article in turn takes its inspiration from this 2006 MJA article, as well as published experiences from the recent H1N1 pandemic.
Preparation of disaster protocols
Management of ICU resources during the pandemic
How to create beds:
How to acquire more staff:
The major resource problem during the H1N1 pandemic in Australia was actually the availability of ICU-trained nurses.
Daugherty, Elizabeth L., and Lewis Rubinson. "Preparing your intensive care unit to respond in crisis: Considerations for critical care clinicians." Critical care medicine 39.11 (2011): 2534-2539.
Devereaux, Asha, et al. "Summary of suggestions from the task force for mass critical care summit, January 26–27, 2007." CHEST Journal 133.5_suppl (2008): 1S-7S.
Horvath, John S., Moira McKinnon, and Leslee Roberts. "The Australian response: pandemic influenza preparedness." Medical journal of Australia185.10 (2006): S35.
Sprung, Charles L., et al. "Recommendations for intensive care unit and hospital preparations for an influenza epidemic or mass disaster: summary report of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine’s Task Force for intensive care unit triage during an influenza epidemic or mass disaster."Intensive care medicine 36.3 (2010): 428-443.
Harrigan, P. W., et al. "The practical experience of managing the H1N1 2009 influenza pandemic in Australian and New Zealand intensive care units." Crit Care Resusc 12.2 (2010): 121-130.