Thrive by IU Health

April 04, 2024

Eclipse: Historical event; hospital prepared

Eclipse: Historical event; hospital prepared

The eclipse is one of the most talked-about events and even though there are many unknowns, IU Health is at the ready to serve patients and families.

By TJ Banes, Senior, IU Health Senior Journalist,

There’s anticipation and there’s the unknowns for this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Some predict about 500,000 visitors will come to the Hoosier state to view the total solar eclipse on April 8. Homeland Security offers a guide to preparing for travel and for those who live in the state. That guide includes:

  • If you have pre-existing health conditions, consult your doctor before traveling. Ensure that you have all necessary medications.
  • Pack plenty of water and snacks (such as energy bars).
  • Assemble an emergency first aid kit.
  • Wear only specially designed solar eclipse viewing glasses (glasses should include a special safe solar filter).

Security experts caution about potential medical surges at area hospitals but IU Health is prepared. Team members are urged to familiarize themselves with road closures and prepare for traffic backups, and even overnight accommodations if necessary.

Total solar eclipse

Additional law enforcement officers will be on duty to help regulate traffic around the hospitals and parking lots. In response to concerns for safety, Emergency Departments and ground and air transportation teams are planning ahead.

“We are meeting regularly and do have plans to have increased staffing both on the ground and air side,” said Breanna Bongen, manager, clinical teams IU Health LifeLine. “Our plan is for LifeLine specifically to have six aircraft in service and available. We anticipate several hundreds of thousands of visitors in the South Central Region, so we are focusing efforts on increased staffing on the ground in that area both the day of and weekend prior.”

IU Health emergency departments and walk-in clinics, are staffing the eclipse similar to staffing for holidays.

“For our emergency department, the eclipse date will be a prescheduled ‘Hard to Staff Day’ for our dayshift. This will ensure adequate and appropriate staffing,” said Sam Dillman, Manager, Clinical Operations, IU Health Methodist Hospital.

Total solar eclipse

Public safety experts around the state are working diligently to prepare first responders and other medical teams to plan and prepare for the best outcomes. They encourage hospitals to plan for disruptions in transportation; delivery delays, accidents and increased stress impacting mental health.

As part of the planning process, patients with appointments on April 8 will receive a text reminding them to plan for additional travel time to and from their appointment.

Here's what to expect for the best outcomes. Within four minutes and 27 seconds:

  • There will be a 360-degree sunset
  • Temperatures will drop around 10 degrees
  • Animal and plant behavior will change
  • Shadows will sharpen
  • Planets and stars will be visible
  • There will be a Diamond Ring Effect

Be safe, enjoy the view and please show us your pictures. The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. won’t happen Aug. 23, 2044.