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Long-Term Care Facility Pandemic Flu Plans – How Good Are They?

by Derrick

Swine flu is the talk at every workplace water cooler. Face mask sales have jumped. Hand sanitizer is selling like toys on Christmas Eve. People are freaking out! Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration; but people are concerned, and rightfully so.

Those living in long-term care facilities, residential homes, etc.; their family members; and the people that work there are probably wondering what the facility’s plan is should the flu hit.

There is only one way to find out – ASK!

All residential facilities should have a written plan. If they don’t, that’s a big red flag. What else don’t they have? That being said, even if they have a plan – is it any good? Is it well thought out with resources in place? Or is it a document in a three ring binder that just sits on a shelf collecting dust? If you’re concerned, ask to see it.

How do you know if it’s any good? That’s a tough question. I recall a training I attended once on this subject, and the speaker said she reviewed a facility’s emergency plan, and their evacuation plan was to move everyone to some building nearby. The problem that they didn’t realize was that 2 other local facilities had the same plan. They never compared notes. The building would have never held them all.

There is one plan review tool you can take with you, however. The Long-Term Care and Other Residential Facilities Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist (mouthful, huh?). It’s offered up by the Centers for Disease Control. Read their description:

This checklist identifies key areas for pandemic influenza planning. Long-term care and other residential facilities can use this tool to self-assess the strengths and weaknesses of current planning efforts.

You can download the checklist in pdf format. If you review a plan and find anything interesting, let me know.

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