Steps to help in flu outbreak preparedness

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Steps to help in flu outbreak preparedness

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  • Have an Outbreak Management Plan.
  • Facilitate high (>90%) flu vaccination coverage for residents and staff.
  • Establish a vaccination register to record the flu vaccination status of all residents and staff each year. Transfer a residents’ vaccination record with them if they change facilities.
  • Consult with your visiting GP pre-season about the use of antivirals in an outbreak. Document your agreed antiviral strategy in your flu management plan.
  • If you plan to use antivirals, request standing orders for the use of antiviral medication to enable early initiation of treatment and/or prophylaxis. Consider pre-ordering some stock of antivirals to avoid supply issues during the flu season.
  • Provide staff training in the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and in infection control practices, particularly standard precautions and transmission based droplet and control precautions.
  • Ensure availability of adequate stocks of PPE, cleaning materials and signs for visitors and residents. Understand what the wait time is for replacement stock and maintain stock levels accordingly.
  • Contact your pathology provider to request a small supply of appropriate swabs for specimen collection to enable prompt testing.
  • Provide information to residents’ families before the flu season to raise their awareness of your infection control policies, including isolation protocols, possible visitor restrictions and the benefits of flu vaccination.