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Home Health Care

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Report offers resources for home health care response during a flu pandemic

Home Health Care During an Influenza Pandemic: Issues and Resources, a report identifying home health care as a critical component in providing care during a pandemic influenza event and offering resources to home health care providers and community planners to prepare for such an event, has been released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in collaboration with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

Home health care agencies already provide routine care for acute and chronically ill, permanently disabled, and terminally ill patients. In fact, on any given day, there are three times as many patients in home health care settings as there are in hospitals.

The report emphasizes the home health care sector's potential to help handle a surge in patients during a biologic event and stresses the need for involvement of home health care agencies in advance planning and coordination at the local level. It offers resources and suggestions on addressing key elements of home health care preparedness and includes lists of existing tools and models throughout. Examples of issues and strategies addressed in the report include:

  • Exploring the use of technology to monitor patients at a distance.
  • Collaboration with community partners.
  • Legal and ethical considerations of providing care under emergency conditions.
  • Home health care workforce issues, including training.
  • Recommendations for additional action and research at the Federal, State, and local levels.

The report is based on the findings of an expert panel meeting, including representatives of home health care, emergency and disaster planning, professional organizations, and Federal and State government agencies. It can be found online at http://www.flu.gov/professional/hospital/homehealth.html.

Editor's Note: AHRQ has developed more than 60 emergency preparedness-related studies, workshops, and conferences to help hospitals and health care systems prepare for public health emergencies. Many of these projects were made possible through collaboration with other Federal agencies. More information about these projects can be found online at http://www.ahrq.gov/prep.

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