Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 32, Issue 7, pp 1004–1013 | Cite as

Expanding ICU facilities in an epidemic: recommendations based on experience from the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong and Singapore

  • Charles D. GomersallEmail author
  • Dessmon Y. H. Tai
  • Shi Loo
  • James L. Derrick
  • Mia Siang Goh
  • Thomas A. Buckley
  • Catherine Chua
  • Ka Man Ho
  • Geeta P. Raghavan
  • Oi Man Ho
  • Lay Beng Lee
  • Gavin M. Joynt
Expert Panel


Epidemics have the potential to severely strain intensive care resources and may require an increase in intensive care capability. Few intensivists have direct experience of rapidly expanding intensive care services in response to an epidemic. This contribution presents the recommendations of an expert group from Hong Kong and Singapore who had direct experience of expanding intensive care services in response to the epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome. These recommendations cover training, infection control, staffing, communication and ethical issues. The issue of what equipment to purchase is not addressed. Early preparations should include fit testing of negative pressure respirators, training of reserve staff, sourcing of material for physical modifications to the ICU, development of infection control policies and training programmes, and discussion of triage and quarantine issues.


Critical care Infection control Personnel staffing and scheduling Ethics Communication Education 



The authors thank Pfizer Corporation (Hong Kong) Ltd. for financial support.

Supplementary material

134_2006_134_MOESM1_ESM.doc (270 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Material (DOC 270 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles D. Gomersall
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Dessmon Y. H. Tai
    • 3
  • Shi Loo
    • 3
  • James L. Derrick
    • 1
  • Mia Siang Goh
    • 4
  • Thomas A. Buckley
    • 5
  • Catherine Chua
    • 3
  • Ka Man Ho
    • 6
  • Geeta P. Raghavan
    • 3
  • Oi Man Ho
    • 6
  • Lay Beng Lee
    • 7
  • Gavin M. Joynt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive CareChinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.Prince of Wales HospitalHong KongChina
  3. 3.Intensive Care UnitsTan Tock Seng HospitalSingaporeSingapore
  4. 4.Facilities Engineering DepartmentTan Tock Seng HospitalSingaporeSingapore
  5. 5.Intensive Care UnitPrincess Margaret HospitalHong KongChina
  6. 6.Adult Intensive Care UnitPrince of Wales HospitalHong KongChina
  7. 7.Department of Care and Counselling (Medical Social Work)Tan Tock Seng HospitalSingaporeSingapore

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