Preparing for Influenza Season: Long-Term Care
Even before influenza is detected in a long-term care facility, there are prevention and control measures that can be taken.
- Implement a seasonal influenza vaccination campaign for residents, staff, and volunteers as vaccine becomes available. This is also a good time to vaccinate residents who are not up to date with Td and pneumococcal vaccinations.
- Encourage all regular visitors to the facility to have a seasonal influenza vaccination.
- Implement an influenza vaccination campaign for residents, staff, and volunteers as vaccine becomes available and in accordance with current CDC and MDH recommendations.
- Develop and implement a Respiratory Protection Program for staff.
- Provide staff with training of appropriate infection prevention strategies to be used throughout the facility by all staff, residents, volunteers and visitors. (See Infection Prevention and Control section)
- Inform staff of the signs and symptoms of influenza-like illness. These include fever, cough, sore throat, etc.
- Conduct surveillance for influenza-like illness in staff and residents.
- Advise staff to contact their supervisor if they feel ill OR identify residents with new symptoms of influenza-like illness.
- Develop a plan for collecting respiratory specimens and performing rapid influenza testing (e.g., rapid diagnostic test, immunofluorescence) and viral cultures for influenza.
- Obtain influenza testing supplies (e.g. synthetic or non-cotton Dacron swabs and viral transport media).
- Identify a system to transport specimens to MDH for laboratory testing.
- Ensure that your facility has adequate infection prevention supplies.
Post Cover Your Cough posters throughout the facility.
- Post signs on all facility entrances asking visitors who are ill not to enter: Stop! Protect Our Patients/Residents Posters.
- Consider placing alcohol-based hand sanitizer at all facility/unit entries.
- Make tissues, trash receptacles, and hand sanitizer available throughout the facility for use by staff, residents, and visitors.
- In conjunction with the facility medical director, develop a protocol for antiviral use to expedite treatment and prophylaxis if an influenza outbreak occurs.