Combating pandemic planning fatigue

first_img(CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing) – Business people convinced of the possibility of an influenza pandemic agree: Convincing reluctant managers, organizing continuity planning, and educating employees can be challenging.But if getting better prepared for a pandemic is tough, business managers say, keeping prepared is tougher.It’s bad enough, they agree, to have to convince reluctant managers and educate busy employees that a pandemic will be unlike any other hazard a company might face, like earthquakes, hurricanes, or terrorism. Such events are local or regional and occur over minutes to hours. Recovery resources from other areas of the country can be accessed quickly and the recovery process begun–even in the face of physical destruction.But for those responsible for private-sector pandemic preparedness, what remains untested and unclear is how companies and organizations will respond. How stable, for example, will today’s public utilities be? Will companies supplying critical parts or services be able to deliver? How many employees will come to work and over what period? The unknowns can be so confounding as to bring preparedness activities to a halt.Another challenge is finding reliable sources and information to act on for both meaningful planning and for delivering company information campaigns and training.After that, they say, comes the truly hard part: Sustaining the planning effort over the long haul.Experts say that preparing well for a catastrophic event takes time, thought, and repetition–but the more time that elapses, and the more repetitions employees go through, the more likely it is they will develop planning fatigue.Pan flu war games”This is a very serious issue,” said Len Pagano, president and CEO of the SafeAmerica Foundation, a Georgia-based nonprofit organization that has staged pandemic-planning business summits in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. “If you come up with a plan, and then over a year you don’t touch the plan, you won’t only forget key points in the plan–you’ll begin to think the whole issue isn’t very important.”But keeping up awareness of the possible consequences of a pandemic–a global event that could last 8 to 12 weeks in any one location, cause up to 24 months of disruption around the globe, and kill 200,000 to 1.9 million just in the United States, according to the US government–is as essential as it is challenging.Pagano and the SafeAmerica Foundation recently landed on a new idea: They are staging a war game, with flu as the enemy.The exercise will last a week and take place in 2 to 6 plants belonging to a Fortune 100 heavy-industrial company that asked not to be identified for competitive reasons. The company will ask its workers to follow the social-distancing techniques that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends as a first-line defense. SafeAmerica will observe employees to gauge compliance, then report to the company’s management what recommendations were followed or ignored.An actual pandemic, of course, will last months and mean that employees will be subjected to many other stressors (loss of loved ones, trouble finding food or routine drugs for themselves or family members) that will change how employees respond during the real event. But if the experiment is successful, Pagano said, it will deliver what scenario exercises lack: the energy and creativity provoked by a real-time challenge.Keeping plans freshKeeping fresh in pandemic planning is a preoccupation for Steve Bergfeld, vice president of corporate services and administration at Baxter Healthcare Corp. of Illinois, part of Baxter International Inc.Baxter makes a range of medications and medical devices, including home dialysis solutions. The company is in a category the government calls critical infrastructure: 14 business sectors (from food production to energy to banking to information technology) that must keep functioning during a crisis in order for the United States to keep running.”As I go around and talk to my colleagues, everybody is saying the same thing: How do you keep this [planning] as a front-burner issue when we have so many other priorities and so much demanding our time,” Bergfeld said.Bergfeld was brought to Baxter 10 months ago to head a threat-management team of 23 people. The company’s process is arduous: monthly meetings to rank facilities worldwide against a list of “accountabilities”; regional audits that score facilities on 7 aspects of pandemic and disaster planning; on-site inspections; and tabletop exercises. Yet “I am always looking for new tools, new resources . . . the next creative way to keep this in front of people,” Bergfeld said.Mega-retailer Target Corporation, which has 7,000 employees just in its Minneapolis headquarters, formed a 30-person pandemic response team a year ago to work with its existing business continuity experts, who, up to then, had chiefly anticipated store closures due to natural disasters such as hurricanes as well as technology crises such as crashes in the company’s worldwide electronic networks.”What we do for business continuity prepares us for pandemic planning, and pandemic planning becomes a scenario within business continuity that we haven’t addressed in the past,” said Birch Holt, Target’s manager of business continuation.The pandemic team, Holt said, draws broadly from throughout the company, including representatives from crisis management, merchandising, and government affairs in addition to the pre-existing business continuation department.They began meeting in January 2006, starting with face-to-face, twice-monthly gatherings of at least an hour, initially mapping out plans for each major division, using pandemic flu–related information from the CDC (www.cdc.gov) and the World Health Organization (www.who.int) as well as a private risk-information company. With most of Target’s divisional plans now written and under review by senior management, the team has cut back to hour-long, face-to-face meetings once a month.Target will shortly hold its first pandemic tabletop exercise. Participants will represent each company sector that has prepared written plans. The results, Holt said, will expose new vulnerabilities to think through.Holt acknowledges that written documents (no matter how thought-out and granular) are not enough. On a board near his desk, he keeps a saying he attributes to World War II general and President Dwight D. Eisenhower: “In preparing for battle, I have found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”last_img read more

New study reveals terrible suffering but also hope for women who have abortions

first_imgLifeSite News 8 January 2018Family First Comment: The untold stories…www.chooselife.nzA study published in December in the peer-reviewed Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons reveals that women suffer from a wide variety of severely traumatic psychological effects from abortion, effects that often last for many years and have life-changing consequences.The study also interestingly found that women who have endured such abortion-related emotional trauma often believe that their suffering has ultimately benefited them, providing a stimulus for them to help other women in crisis pregnancies.“Women Who Suffered Emotionally from Abortion: A Qualitative Synthesis of Their Experiences,” reviews data generated from 987 women with a history of abortion who were invited to participate in an online survey.When asked what negative effects, if any, they attribute to their abortions, 23.7% recognized that they had taken a life. Many mentioned that they suffered from depression (14.4%), guilt or remorse (14%), self-hatred or other negative feelings towards themselves (12.4%), shame (10.9%), and regret (9.3%).“My child is dead and by my own choice,” one participant is quoted as saying. “I spent years of anger, shame, and grief. It damaged my relationship with my husband, my children, and my God. For 30 years I did not speak of it to anyone but my husband. My grief overwhelmed him and left him powerless and ashamed.”“My life was interrupted in a way that after 30 years, since my last abortion, I am still hurting, emotionally and mentally as a result of my choices. I will have to live with them for the rest of my life on earth” another participant stated.Many also mentioned self-destructive behavior as a negative consequence, including substance addiction or abuse (9%), promiscuity, self-punishment, and poor choices (7.7%), and impulses or even attempts at suicide (6.2%).When asked to name positive effects, if any, had come from their abortions, a little less than one third (31.6%) of participants said that there were none. Those who listed “positive” effects tended to indicate that their suffering had stimulated changes in their lives that inclined them to pro-life and crisis pregnancy activism.Such positive changes included a “deepened spiritual life (finding forgiveness, peace, inner healing” (17.5%), commitment to crisis pregnancy work (13.3%) or pro-life work in general (6.4%), speaking or writing about their abortion experiences (8.9%), helping women to recover from abortion-related trauma by communicating the love and forgiveness of God (8.2%), and conversion to Christianity (7.5%).“As a CPC [crisis pregnancy center] volunteer, I have been able to persuade most of my abortion minded clients to at least wait until they could see an ultrasound before they made their decisions,” said one woman. “All that have done that have chosen life for their children. I would probably not have become a volunteer had it not been for the abortion I had.”“The one positive is that it has brought me to my end and brought me to my knees before God,” wrote another participant. “He has drawn me to him through His endless forgiveness, mercy, and grace. I think He could have shown me those same things had I chosen another path, but this is how I came to Him, not as a Christian, because I already was one, but as one who really knows Him now.”A little over 20% of participants did not respond to either question about the effects of abortion.The study’s primary author is Dr. Priscilla K. Coleman, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University.The study’s results and content differ dramatically from many other studies on abortion-related trauma undertaken in the English-speaking world, which often seek to confirm that women do not suffer any increased risk of trauma in aborting their child instead of giving birth. One such well-publicized study published in 2016 was blasted for serious methodological flaws that could have biased the results, as was a 2010 Guttmacher Institute study with similar conclusions.https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/new-study-reveals-that-women-suffer-emotionally-from-abortionlast_img read more

Palace pursuit of Mackay paused

first_img Betting was suspended on Tuesday evening as former Cardiff boss Mackay appeared destined to replace Tony Pulis as manager at Palace. But, despite constant links, the 42-year-old was not appointed on Wednesday – and reports last night suggested there was unlikely to be any change in the situation. With Glenn Hoddle and Tim Sherwood other favourites to take over at the club, Palace do still have options after seemingly deciding against Mackay, but chairman Steve Parish will be keen to appoint someone soon having stressed he wanted a quick resolution to the club’s managerial post. Millen, who oversaw the narrow 2-1 defeat at Arsenal on the opening day of the new Barclays Premier League season, is likely to be in charge for the visit of London rivals West Ham on Saturday. The club confirmed on Wednesday that Millen will front up to the media on Thursday afternoon and, even if a permanent successor to Pulis is found before 3pm on Saturday, Millen now seems certain to be in charge of first-team affairs for the Hammers’ clash. Pulis took charge in November, with Palace the heavy favourites to fall out of the division. The former Stoke manager took the Eagles on a great run which saw them finish 11th and remain in the Premier League for more than a single season for the first time. Rifts caused over a lack of transfers and a clash over the type of players they wanted to recruit is believed to be at the heart of Pulis’ exit although, when appointed, the new manager will be hopeful of spending some money to add to the signings of Chris Kettings, Fraizer Campbell, Brede Hangeland and Martin Kelly. Former Tottenham head coach Sherwood is now the favourite to take over at the Palace helm, with Martin Jol and Steve Clarke also believed to be in the running for the post. Crystal Palace appear to have pressed pause on a move for Malky Mackay to take over at Selhurst Park with caretaker boss Keith Millen expected to be in charge for Saturday’s meeting with West Ham. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Yasiel Puig forgives Jared Goff’s tweet, welcomes QB to LA, #PuigYourFriend

first_imgJared Goff, who was raised in the Bay Area and played for Cal, caught some grief for his tweet from 2013 that read, “I really hope Yasiel Puig gets a fastball in his ribs tomorrow.”After Goff was drafted at the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft Thursday, the tweet was widely shared.Puig, the Dodgers star, responded Friday morning with this tweet:@JaredGoff16 Big hug, Welcome to LA, I show you around, be my guest to @Dodgers game #PuigYourFriend #PuigNotLate Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more