Crisis Standards of Care

Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) are defined as “a substantial change in the usual health care operations and the level of care it is possible to deliver, which is made necessary by a pervasive (e.g., pandemic influenza) or catastrophic (e.g., earthquake, hurricane) disaster." 

What is Crisis Standards of Care?

CSC is activated regionally or statewide by the Department of Health and Welfare, but hospitals implement according to their own policies and available resources. Each hospital makes 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?

When crisis standards of care is activated, it 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 may be postponed, emergency departments may be full, and there may not be any beds for patients to be admitted to the hospital.

What should you do?

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.

Get vaccinated. It is safe and effective, and it is the best defense we have against COVID-19. 

A nurse holding a bottle of COVID vaccine
Get vaccinated.
Emergency preparedness
Visit the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Emergency Preparedness webpage to read the Idaho Crisis Standard of Care Plan.
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.