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Background: A 2007 survey of Midwestern LTCF suggested that less than 25% had a written pandemic influenza response plan. Upon request from a rural nursing home, we developed pandemic influenza planning recommendations for LTCF. Methods: In September 2009, we mailed written recommendations to 144 LTCF in West Texas and New Mexico and included a survey with questions about the facility, facility preparedness, and the usefulness of the recommendations. We performed standard statistical analysis on returned surveys. Results: 24/143 (17%) facilities returned the survey, indicating that they had read (21) or planned to read (3) the recommendations. 15/23 (65%) of surveys were from facilities in rural communities. 16/23 (70%) of facilities already had a written pandemic influenza response plan. Most facilities had stockpiled some supplies: gloves (19/24, 79%), alcohol based hand washes (18/24, 75%), surgical masks (16/24, 67%), and N95 masks (8/24, 33%). 18/24 (75%) had discussed obtaining vaccine with the health department, 17/24 (71%) had instituted staff education and training, and 15/24 (63%) had developed written material for staff and families. 11/24 (49%) anticipated staffing shortages; most planned to use overtime, non-clinical staff, and volunteers to provide for clinical services during staff shortages. Only 3/24 (13%) of these facilities planned to use commercial agencies for staffing shortage. Of those who had read the recommendations, 100% found them helpful or very helpful. The most frequently cited anticipated changes based on the recommendations included changing isolation procedures (11/24, 46%) and vaccination program (9/24, 38%); review of staff absenteeism policies (38%); and revision of the written pandemic influenza plan (38%). There were no statistical differences between facilities in urban and rural communities with regard to the presence of a written plan, staff training, discussions with the health department, stockpiling of supplies, or anticipated changes based on review of the recommendations. Conclusions: This small survey suggests that LTCF may be better prepared for pandemic influenza than they were two years ago. These facilities found that mailed written planning recommendations were helpful, and would result in changes to deal with H1N1 pandemic influenza.


City of Amarillo Metropolitan Medical Response System (city government); West Texas Influenza Center (academic health center)


Presented at American Geriatrics Society, 05/07/10, Orlando, FL. J Am Geriatr Soc 2010;58:S166.