Flu and the ER
January 12, 2018 at 8:55 am #6266
I’m seeing so much about the flu – a really nasty strain this year. I don’t work in an ER at this point of my life but I can imagine how hard it is for those who do. I’d really love to see the CDC start a MAJOR PSA series on when you should go to the ER. I also find myself curious to see of those who had serious complications how many vaccinated and how many didn’t.
*** Side note: One of the long-term care facilities I visit with my current job did the smartest thing I’ve seen them do. Starting in November they hired a full time employee to do nothing but go around the entire facility sanitizing handrails, door handles, and any other surface that residents and staff touch often. The previous 2 years they have had to quarantine themselves for multiple weeks by this time into flu season – so far this season they seem to be relatively flu free!***
Stepping down from my soap box. ⚡
January 12, 2018 at 9:24 pm #6338
I would kill for someone to come sanitize our SNF. We’re in week two of quarantine for pretty much everything you can imagine.
January 13, 2018 at 10:12 pm #6378
Honestly it makes more financial sense to hire the person to go around and around sanitizing. I was thinking about it – the extra money the facility has to spend on to-go containers, plastic silverware and paper cups for the (literally) almost 1000 residents, plus extra staffing to get meals out to the residents in this multi-care level facility for a 2+ week quarantine must be far more than the guy sanitizing.
Stepping down from my soap box.
January 14, 2018 at 12:49 am #6383
I’m curious, as a very new nurse. What happens during a facility during quarantine. I have read that this is happening at many LTC, SNF, and hospitals alike due to the flu. So what exactly do they mean when they quarantine a hospital or facility?
If you don’t mind explaining, I would really appreciate it.
January 14, 2018 at 5:40 am #6389
When there’s an outbreak in a ltc, snf, cbrf, it needs to be reported to the local health department who will give guidance as to what to do. In general, of course isolate those who are sick. This includes instituting either contact, droplet, or airborne precautions depending on the disease.
(BTW – since many do not know the difference between isolation and quarantine – isolation is for those already sick, quarantine is for those who are not sick but who are at risk of contracting the disease due to exposure).
You are going to post in your facility that you have an outbreak of “x” going on and you may limit visitors, or in the case of flu, make them wear a mask. If it’s a flu outbreak, Tamiflu will usually be given to all residents and non-vaccinated staff.
With a larger scale outbreak, especially something like flu or norovirus that spreads so super easy, you may consider quarantining the entire facility – make everyone stay in their rooms, eliminate group activities, etc. This is a little controversial because it will obviously affect the quality of life for the residents (not to mention extremely unpopular with staff), so usually this is a last resort when it seems the outbreak just can’t be controlled.
Also with an outbreak, facilities are advised to stop accepting admissions until the outbreak is over – that is difficult, since sometimes there’s no where else for the new patient/resident to go, so while it’s best practice not to do that, it’s not always feasible. A new admission should be placed either in a private room or at least in a room with a asymptomatic roommate.
And there are lots of guidelines for disinfecting and cleaning the place, exactly what and how depends on the organism. This is particularly important with norovirus.
Bottom line – call Public Health and let them give you the guidance of what you need to do. At least here in Wisconsin, the state Division of Public Health issues guidelines every year to facilities for flu and every so often for GI outbreaks so the facilities have it outlined for them.
January 13, 2018 at 11:44 pm #6381
I have to agree with y’all that this flu is a very nasty strain this year. Unfortunately I’m just now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with my episode of the flu. I took the flu shot this year, not sure if it helped me or not.. I absolutely feel sorry for those who are suffering from the flu. I thought I was going to die when my symptoms first hit me. Being an EMT, I told myself I didn’t need to go to the ER.. well, I should have, because my primary care physician couldn’t see me until Wednesday (my symptoms started Monday).. I see how the flu can kill people, especially those not in good health to begin with.
January 14, 2018 at 9:48 am #6401
missnurse – in ltf on the practical side of infectious disease outbreak (in my state at least).
Ill pts are required to stay in their room and anyone entering must don full ppe.
Otherwise unaffected pts are also encouraged to stay in their room.
All activities and outings (other than doctor visits) are cancelled. Visitors are discouraged.
All meals are delivered to the rooms in 100% disposable containers. Which means staff must deliver the meals and afterwards make the rounds again to pick up the garbage.
In addition to all the extra time delivering meals, picking up trash, normal daily tasks must be done. You also have the additional problem of bored pts with cabin fever. Plus donning full ppe quite often to check on the ill pts.
Oh yeah, also in all your spare time you have to pitch in with deep cleaning and sanitizing EVERYTHING.
Stepping down from my soap box. ⚡
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