HHS.gov Archive

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

New Checklist Helps Long-Term Care and Other Residential Facilities Prepare for an Influenza Pandemic

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today announced the release of the “Long-Term Care and Other Residential Facilities Pandemic Influenza Checklist.” This tool provides guidance for these facilities to assess and improve their preparedness for responding to pandemic influenza.

“The collaboration of long-term care and other residential facilities with public health agencies will be important in protecting the people living in those facilities if and when a pandemic occurs,” Secretary Leavitt said. “These facilities provide vital services for their residents. By working together now, we’ll be better equipped to serve these residents and their caregivers in the future.”

The new checklist identifies steps that long-term care and other residential facilities can take to prepare for a pandemic, and could be helpful in other types of emergencies. The checklist was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Preparedness suggestions include:

  • Have a structure for planning and decision-making, with a multidisciplinary group created to specifically pandemic influenza preparedness planning.
  • Develop a written pandemic influenza plan that identifies the person or persons authorized to implement the plan and the organizational structure to be used.
  • Develop a facility communication plan that includes key points of contact such as local and state health department officials, and a person responsible for communicating with staff, residents and families.
  • Have a plan to provide education and training to ensure that all personnel, residents and family members of residents understand basic prevention and control measures for pandemic influenza.
  • Have an infection control plan in place for managing residents and visitors with pandemic influenza.
  • Have a plan to get and use vaccines and antiviral drugs.
  • Address issues related to sudden increased needs, such as prioritizing services, staffing and supply shortages, and alternative care for residents who need acute care when hospital beds are unavailable.

The release of this new tool builds on the Administration’s overall planning to increase pandemic preparedness. President Bush has outlined a coordinated government strategy that includes the establishment of the new International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, stockpiling of vaccines and antiviral medications, expansion of early-warning systems domestically and abroad and new funding and initiatives for local and state level preparedness.

Secretary Leavitt has met with senior officials from all 50 states and has been holding summits with the goal of enhancing state and local preparedness. In addition to today’s checklist, Secretary Leavitt has issued preparedness checklists for individuals and families, businesses, state and local health departments, and faith-based and community organizations to aid their pandemic preparedness efforts.

A copy of the “Long-Term Care and Other Residential Facilities Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Checklist” is available at http://www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/LongTermCareChecklist.html. Additional pandemic planning information is available online at www.pandemicflu.gov.

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Last revised: May 17, 2006