Crisis Standards of Care

On Sept. 16, 2021, Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) was activated statewide in Idaho.

What is Crisis Standards of Care?

CSC was activated statewide by the Department of Health and Welfare, but the hospitals will implement according to their own policies and available resources. Each hospital will make patient care decisions based on the current situation at the hospital guided by the Crisis Standards of Care.

Crisis Standards of Care is a last resort. It means that the number of patients needing care is more than the amount of resources (e.g. space, equipment, etc.) available.


What does this mean for you?

This is serious; your ability to receive care in a hospital will likely be affected. It may look very different than how you have received care in the past. Surgeries are being postponed, emergency departments are full, and there may not be any beds for patients to be admitted to the hospital.


What should you do?

The crisis in our healthcare system is being caused by the massive influx of COVID-19 patients who need hospitalization. Get vaccinated. It is safe and effective, and it is the best defense we have against COVID-19. More than 91 percent of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Idaho are not fully vaccinated.

If you need emergency care, go to the emergency room. Do not avoid care. Hospitals will work hard to make sure you receive appropriate care.

A nurse holding a bottle of COVID vaccine
Get vaccinated.
More than 91 percent of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Idaho are not fully vaccinated.
When a hospital implements Crisis Standards of Care, it could mean:
  • Receiving care in a hospital room that was previously used as a classroom, or in a hallway or a tent.
  • Fewer nurses  and doctors taking care of more patients.
  • Waiting many hours for care or being transferred to a hospital that could be hours away for your care.
  • Not being prioritized for the limited resources (such as a bed or a ventilator) or treatments available. In other words, patients with a greater likelihood of surviving their illness may be given a critical care bed or ventilator over patients less likely to survive.


Has a statewide Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order been issued in Idaho?

No. The activation of crisis standards of care does not necessarily mean hospitals will be applying universal DNR. The guidance for universal DNR is a strategy for hospitals to consider when operating under crisis standards of care AND the demand for ventilators is more than the number of ventilators available. Universal DNR, if enacted by a hospital, would apply to all hospitalized adult patients in the event of a cardiac arrest; it would not apply to pediatric patients. This guidance can be considered when resources are extremely scarce or unavailable as a way to save the most lives for patients with the best prognosis for survival, since the likelihood of survival after a cardiac arrest is low for adult patients.