The Complete Guide to Setting Up a Temporary Field Hospital During a Health Crisis

During the COVID-19 surge in 2020 and 2021, hospitals across the U.S. and other parts of the world reached their capacities. As a result, field hospitals were set up to handle the growing number of patients. From medical schools to hospitals, everyone was getting involved in setting up these hospitals. 

Several institutions, like the University of Mississippi, set up treatment tents within their campuses. These field hospitals had a small number of beds. The one at the University of Mississippi had around 20 such beds. Despite the limited capacity, these facilities were vital in keeping the pandemic under control.

Like COVID-19, you might have to deal with such health crises in the future. If not a health crisis, it could even be a natural disaster that needs such field hospital setups. 

During the recent hurricane Ian, a field hospital was set up in Fort Myers. Many such hospitals are run by the military during the time of natural disasters with assistance from government health services. It just goes to show how vital these temporary infrastructures are to our healthcare system.

In the future, you, too, might need to participate in setting up such field hospitals in your locality. If it comes to that, here’s how you can do it.

Make Sure the Tent is Durable, Weather Resistant, and Easy to Install

You don't want a tent that is going to fall apart when you open it up or require a team of people to put it together. That’s why durability is important, and so are the tent’s weather resistance capabilities. For that, your best bet is to opt for PVC tents or PVC-coated tents.

These types of tents are available on Amazon. The smaller (10ft x 10ft) ones cost as little as $165. Then there are bigger ones (20ft x 40ft) that cost around $1,700. The smaller ones can fit two beds at best. But the bigger ones will fit about ten.

Make sure that your medical staff members can easily set up the tent without assistance from anyone else. It’s also advisable that you set the tents up in a way that you can move them within short notice. 

Set Up Portable Beds Inside the Tent

When you’re setting up a temporary outdoor medical treatment tent, you should make sure that all beds are sturdy and durable. A good bed frame is easy to set up and take down, so the patient can get up and walk around without having to move the entire structure. If you’re able to find beds that fold away when they’re not in use, that would be ideal as well.

Finally, ensure that each patient has clean sheets and blankets on their bed. If possible, also have extra pillows available for those who require them.

Rent a Microscope If You Need One for Lab Tests

If you don’t need it for a long period, renting a microscope may be your best option. Several companies rent microscopes and other equipment to the medical community. You can also find microscope rentals through local universities or hospitals. 

You’ll have a plethora of rental options to choose from, including digital microscopes that use the latest technology to provide high-quality images. However, it’s vital to have someone who specializes in carrying out such tests, given that they’ll have to run them in a tough environment and in tough times.  

Sterilize Everything Frequently

Clean the area that you're going to set up the tent in frequently. Alcohol wipes are your best friend here, as well as disinfectant spray and a UV light that can kill germs on surfaces.

Use hand sanitizer frequently whenever you're touching surfaces inside the tent that might be contaminated with germs or bacteria from sick people. Wear a mask if you have to go inside the tent. The purpose of all this is to avoid contaminating the tents and their occupants as well as to keep yourself safe.

Keep Insects Out of the Tents at All Costs

It is important to keep insects out of the tents at all costs. Use insect repellents on clothing, bedding, and skin, and don't leave food in your tent. Bugs are drawn to any food that is left on the ground and can easily enter through a small hole in a tent. Be sure to keep your tent clean and free of trash, clothes, or blankets that are left on the floor. 

Dispose of medical waste carefully and ideally at a place that’s far from the tents. 

Carpet the Floor

Carpeting the floor will eliminate gaps in the ground where people can trip, fall, or snag their IVs on. It also keeps people warm, which makes them more comfortable when they're feeling unwell.

Carpeting also helps keep things clean and sanitary by reducing dirt and moisture build-up on the floor. This is especially important if you're setting up the temporary medical treatment tent in an area where the ground is uneven, or there’s a lot of grass.

Keep All Power Sources Outside the Tent

If you need to use a generator, make sure it is far enough away from your tent to not cause any problems. Also, make sure that there are no exposed wires and that they are properly grounded so as not to become a fire hazard. If at all possible, have an electrician come by and inspect your setup before using it to ensure that everything is safe.

Field hospitals and temporary medical tents are set up in the worst of times. Thus, you must know how to get it done in the best and most efficient way possible so that these hospitals can be of good service to those in need of it.