H1N1 Planning and Response: 10 Steps from the CDC for Medical Offices and Outpatient Facilities

CDC Arlen Specter Headquarters and Emergency Operations Center, Atlanta

CDC Arlen Specter Headquarters and Emergency Operations Center, Atlanta

The following was released yesterday by the CDC:

It is critical to assure that medical offices and other outpatient facilities (e.g., outpatient/ambulatory clinics, outpatient surgery centers, urgent care centers, physical therapy/rehabilitation offices or clinics) that provide routine, episodic, and/or chronic healthcare services can manage an increased demand for services in the midst of a novel H1N1 influenza outbreak. Ensuring a sustainable community healthcare response will be important for a likely recurrence of novel H1N1 flu in the fall. See CDC’s H1N1 website for up-to-date information.

1. Develop a Business Continuity Plan – Novel H1N1 flu outbreaks will impact your organization, employees, suppliers of critical materiel, and your family. Identify your office/clinic’s essential functions and the individuals who perform them. Make sure you have trained enough people to properly work in these essential functions and allow for potential absenteeism. Develop a plan that will sustain your core business activities for several weeks. Make sure you have alternate plans for critical supplies in case there is disruption in your supply chains. For information about planning see: http://www.ready.gov/business/plan/index.html.

2. Inform employees about your plan for coping with additional surge during pandemic – Provide clear and frequent communication to ensure that your staff are aware and understand the plan. Explain any policies and procedures that will be used to protect staff and your patients, and to manage a surge of patients. Improve the resiliency of your staff by advising that employees have a pandemic family plan or personal plans. 

3. Plan to operate your facility if there is significant staff absenteeism – Are you ready for 20 to 40% of your employees not being able to come to work? Cross training your staff is key to resilience here. What else can be done to assure continuity of operations with reduced staff?

4. Protect your workplace by asking sick employees to stay home – Be sure to ask sick staff to stay home. All personnel should self monitor daily for signs and symptoms of febrile respiratory illness. Staff who develop these symptoms should be instructed not to report to work, or if at work, should cease patient care activities and notify their supervisor. Be sure to align your sick leave policies so ill staff can stay home. See What to Do If You Get Flu-Like Symptoms for more information.

Click here for the full document, with the remaining six steps. Has your workplace taken any steps to prepare or plan for a possible resurgence of the virus in the coming months?

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2016-11-21T13:25:21+00:00 July 15th, 2009|Nursing|1 Comment

About the Author:

Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.

One Comment

  1. Sandra Schwanberg August 3, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Eric Toner’s op-ed in the NY Times, Aug 1, 2009 “ER’s may be the first Victims” stated that there was a need to “educate the public about proper responses to the flu” and “offering good alternatives to emergency department care.” The need for the public to have home care information remains.

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