When emergency departments and acute care floors deal with overcrowding and/or understaffing throughout the year, the flu season can make a bad situation even worse. While some facilities roll out effective contingency plans, others often use flu outbreaks as another excuse for chronically poor conditions for patients and staff alike.
If your facility does not seem to be prepared for the flu surge this year, it is important to know that government healthcare agencies provide clear, unequivocal guidance to follow. Suggested measures include:
- Setting up screening for ILI (Influenza Like Illness) either outside the ED itself or even off-campus, in order to reduce stress on the ED.
- Limiting and controlling the number and age of visitors.
- Designating influenza areas in the ED, separated by barriers.
- Activating the hospital’s Incident Command System.
Measures can and should be put in place by management to address challenges created by an influenza surge.
NYSNA has developed a check list that can be used to determine how well your facility is doing, as the 2019-2020 flu season continues. Download a copy and share it with your colleagues.