Influenza Preparedness in Nebraska Assisted Living Facilities

Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska 68198-5400, USA.
Biosecurity and bioterrorism: biodefense strategy, practice, and science (Impact Factor: 1.64). 12/2009; 7(4):429-32. DOI: 10.1089/bsp.2009.0042
Source: PubMed


We conducted an electronic survey to determine the state of planning for pandemic influenza in assisted living facilities. A survey instrument was designed with input from a number of experts and sent out to 275 Nebraska assisted living facilities; responses were received from 137. The survey covered approximately 20 areas related to preparedness. About one-third of assisted living facilities had a pandemic influenza plan; 45% had started stockpiling, and 55% expected significant staff shortages in a pandemic. Only 5% were willing to discharge current patients to make room for overflow hospital patients. Assisted living facilities have started pandemic influenza planning, but additional work needs to be done. These facilities are unlikely to be able to assist with hospital patient overflow in a pandemic.

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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To develop a tool that assesses disaster-planning strategies used by Home Health Agencies (HHAs) throughout Nebraska. Methods: A survey of HHAs in Nebraska was created, distributed, and analyzed to assess and gain information about their written disaster plans. Part 1 of this 2-part survey identified agencies with written disaster plans and collected basic information about plan and structure. Part 2 identified detailed characteristics of the HHA and their pandemic influenza plans. Also, pandemic influenza preparedness of HHAs was assessed and compared to other health care institutions. Results: More than 90% of the HHAs that responded to the survey reported that they have written disaster plans; almost half of the plans address strategies for surge capacity. The majority of HHAs with plans also have disaster-specific plans for pandemic influenza preparedness. Our findings suggest that Nebraska HHAs have taken substantial steps toward preparedness, although individual plans may vary considerably. Conclusions: This survey provides a first step at evaluating HHA disaster preparedness plans. It also demonstrates that Nebraska HHAs have taken substantial steps toward being prepared, although individual plans vary widely. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2013;0:1-9).
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