The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released a primer for home-healthcare agencies on preparing for a flu pandemic.
To date, there has been little information about how home-health providers could meet a sudden demand for services during a public-health emergency, although it is extremely likely that these agencies would be called on to provide additional services at a time of need, said AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy, in a written statement.
The report, Home Health Care During an Influenza Pandemic: Issues and Resources, offers advice and potential strategies to ensure that home healthcare can meet these types of emergencies and still provide high-quality healthcare, Clancy said.
Strategies include the use of technology to monitor patients at a distance, collaborating with community partners, training home-healthcare workers, and recommendations for additional action and research at the federal, state and local levels. Legal and ethical considerations of providing care under emergency conditions are also addressed. The report is based on findings of an expert panel that included representatives of home healthcare, emergency and disaster planning, professional organizations and federal and state government agencies. -- by Jennifer Lubell