Preparing for and Responding to Pandemic Influenza: Implications for People With Disabilities
ABSTRACT State, local, tribal, and territorial emergency managers and public health officials must address the specific needs of people with disabilities in their pandemic influenza plans. Evidence from Hurricane Katrina indicated that this population was disproportionately affected by the storm and aftermath. People with disabilities, particularly those who require personal assistance and those who reside in congregate care facilities, may be at increased risk during an influenza pandemic because of disrupted care or the introduction of the virus by their caregivers. Emergency and public health planners must ensure that personal assistance agencies and congregate care operators make provisions for backup staffing and that those who provide critical care are given adequate antiviral drugs and vaccines as they become available.
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ABSTRACT: Context/objective: To assess guidance provided to staff at Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare facilities on H1N1 influenza infection control for veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D). Cross-sectional qualitative semi-structured interviews. Thirty-three VA healthcare facilities from throughout the United States that provide care to veterans with SCI/D. Thirty-three infection control key informants, each representing a VA healthcare facility. None. Infection control practices, including vaccination practices, hospital preparedness, and recommendations for future pandemics, both in general and specifically to SCI/D. Most (n = 26, 78.8%) infection control key informants believed veterans with SCI/D were at increased risk for influenza and complications, but only 17 (51.5%) said veterans with SCI/D were treated as a priority group for vaccination at their facilities. There was little special guidance provided for treating veterans with SCI/D, and most (n = 28, 84.8%) informants said that infection control procedures and recommendations were applied universally. Yet, 10 key informants discussed 'unique challenges' to infection control in the SCI/D population. Informants discussed the potential for infectious agents to be spread through shared and common use equipment and the necessity of including caregivers in any vaccination or educational campaigns. Greater input by experts knowledgeable about SCI/D is recommended to adequately address pandemic influenza within healthcare facilities where individuals with SCI/D receive care.The journal of spinal cord medicine 04/2013; 36(6). DOI:10.1179/2045772313Y.0000000112 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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