H1N1 (swine) flu information
This is to provide you with a status report of Swedish’s readiness to address any concerns related to swine flu.
- In the big picture, the federal government has deployed resources to help diagnose and treat any cases of swine flu. That includes freeing up and dispensing any cache (stored) supplies such as medications or personal protection equipment (PPE) such as N-95 respirators.
- The State of Washington and Public Health has opened up its Emergency Management command center. Swedish is already in constant communication with other healthcare organizations via a web-based incident command site. We are all taking similar and appropriate actions so that the community will be properly and consistently served.
- Swedish has conducted several internal planning sessions headed by Safety and Epidemiology. If there is a local outbreak, we will call for a Code Delta External and provide onsite briefing.
Key Resource Link
- Refer frequently to the Swine Flu link from the SMC Infection Control webpage or go to http://intranet.swedish.org/departments/epidemiology/swine%20flu.html.
- There are excellent flyers and memos to answer expected questions about the transmission and care of swine flu.
- We have always followed Respiratory Ettiquette procedures meaning that if someone presents with cough/sneezes, we ask them to don a mask and use the provided tissue and gel. Additionally for our Emergency Departments, SPD clinics and Family Medicine sites, they are conducting a phone intake screening tool so that suspicious candidates are quickly referred to a triage nurse and subsequently to a MD or to Public Health for determining whether the person should come in, or stay home with or without prescribed medications. It is important to keep affected patients home to tend to their symptoms rather than expose others. If they are symptomatic enough, they will of course be brought in for care.
- If patients are admitted they will have several isolation categories applied, namely special respiratory involving a fit tested N-95 respirator (which unlike for special respiratory isolation, is discarded after each use). Eye protection, gowns and gloves are to be donned. Ideally patients are placed in a negative pressure room. Our engineering services is assuring our negative pressure rooms are in proper working order and have contingency plans if we need to make whole patient care towers negative pressure to meet capacity needs.
- Most hospital (inpatient and outpatient) units and our Swedish Visiting Nurse Services have supported our respiratory care program by having at least 50% of staff already fit tested with N-95 respirators. This way staff knows what size respirator, how to don and fit check for proper seal, and away they go for care. If you have staff who has yet to be fitted, please get this accomplished immediately. The management tracking tool still lists fit test sizes and status for your staff.
- We have taken inventory for personal protection equipment (PPE) and have a solid supply. We are working out contingency plans if those supplies are depleted. At this time the pharmaceutical portion of the Strategic National Stockpile, when distributed, will be limited for treatment use only. That means we may be able to use our internal stockpile of 2,800 ten day courses of antiviral pharmaceuticals prophylaxis for healthcare workers. At this time we have no patients being treated with antivirals for swine flu so there is no added burden for Pharmacy.
- Our staffing offices and employee health clinic are prepared to address employee sick calls. Staffing office is asking a few more questions to determine any swine flu risk symptoms for staff. The vast majority of clinical sick calls comes in via the staffing office, so if you have a decentralized sick call-in system, please alert Employee Health 386-6048 if you have a higher than normal volume of sick calls.
- Marketing/Communications is linked with a Joint Information Center so that consistent messaging is put forth on behalf of individual hospitals as well as Public Health.
- Nutrition Services states pork is safe to eat- a frequently asked question!
There are NO identified swine flu cases in our area at this time. Hopefully this information assures you that Swedish and healthcare is prepared if we need to implement further swine flu actions.
Please educate and reassure your staff, who in turn can educate and reassure their families and friends. If you have any comments or concerns, please contact your campus safety officer or infection control specialist.