Emergency department reorganisation to cope with COVID-19 outbreak in Milan university hospital: a time-sensitive challenge

A. Jachetti, G. Colombo, B. Brignolo-Ottolini, J. Franchi, M. Solbiati, M. Pecorino Meli, P. Bosco, G. Costantino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: In March 2020 we faced a huge spread of the epidemic of SARS-CoV2 in northern Italy; the Emergency Departments (ED) and the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were overwhelmed by patients requiring care. The hospitals were forced to reorganize their services, and the ED was the focal point of this challenge. As Emergency Department in a metropolitan area of the region most affected, we saw an increasing number of patients with COVID-19, and we made some structural and staff implementations according to the evolution of the epidemic. METHODS: We analysed in a narrative way the weaknesses and the point of strength of our response to COVID-19 first outbreak, focusing point by point on main challenges and minor details involved in our ED response to the pandemics. RESULTS: The main stems for our response to the pandemic were: use of clear and shared contingency plans, as long as preparedness to implement them; stockage of as much as useful material can be stocked; training of the personnel to be prepared for a fast response, trying to maintain divided pathway for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, well-done isolation is a key factor; preparedness to de-escalate as soon as needed. CONCLUSIONS: We evaluated our experience and analysed the weakness and strength of our first response to share it with the rest of the scientific community and colleagues worldwide, hoping to facilitate others who will face the same challenge or similar challenges in the future. Shared experience is the best way to learn and to avoid making the same mistakes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 28 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Emergency department
  • Management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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