A home health agency's pandemic preparedness and experience with the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
BACKGROUND: Adequate pandemic preparedness is imperative for home health agencies. METHODS: A 23-item pandemic preparedness survey was administered to home health agencies in the spring of 2010. The Kruskal-Wallis (KW) test was used to evaluate the relationships between agency size and preparedness indicators. Significant findings were further analyzed by the Mann-Whitney (MW) U post hoc test. RESULTS: The response rate was 25% (526/2,119). Approximately one-third of respondents (30.4%; n = 131) reported experiencing trouble in obtaining supplies during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Small agencies were significantly more likely (Krusal-Wallis [KW] = 9.2; P < .01) to report having trouble obtaining supplies than larger-sized agencies (Mann-Whitney [MW] = 14,080; P < .01). Most home health agencies (87.3%; n = 459) reported having a pandemic influenza plan. One-third (33.5%; n = 176) reported having no surge capacity; only 27.0% (n = 142) reported having at least a 20% surge capacity. The largest agencies were significantly more likely (KW = 138; P < .001) to report having at least 20% surge capacity than medium-sized agencies (MW = 7,812; P = .001) or small agencies (MW = 8,306; P < .001). Approximately 80% (n = 414) reported stockpiling personal protective equipment. Three-quarters (71.3%; n = 375) reported fit-testing staff, and half (49.2%; n = 259) reported participating in disaster drills. The majority of home health professionals (75.1%; n = 395) reported having a personal/family disaster plan in place. CONCLUSION: There are gaps in US home health agency pandemic preparedness, including surge capacity and participation in disaster drills that need to be addressed. American Journal of Infection Control. 2011;39(9):725-731. Epub 2011 Jun 12.
Publication Type: Journal article
Publisher: American Journal of Infection Control.