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(11/21/2022)

As flu season begins to impact patients and facilities nationwide, public health experts are warning hospitals to prepare for a “twindemic” – or even “tripledemic” – during which they might be treating a large influx of COVID-19 and flu or RSV patients simultaneously this winter.
 
During the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, flu season was mild from heightened precautions, such as working from home, decrease in social gatherings, and use of masks and hand sanitizer. However, a return to open offices and social gatherings and a decrease in mask use could allow another severe outbreak to occur. Furthermore, Australia's flu season, which occurs before our flu season in the northern hemisphere, saw an early arrival of flu and the highest number of flu cases in the past five years. This is a good reminder that healthcare facilities should put plans into place to ensure they are ready to face the challenges this flu season may present.

infectious-diseases.jpgImplement proactive strategies
Tracking this crucial information and data can make all the difference when facing emergencies. Data tracking extends beyond infection rates to logistics and supply chains. As hospital beds fill up, what do facility managers need to anticipate to provide the best care? Whether it’s masks or vaccines, managers need to examine past surges to plan for future complications. This year, an outbreak of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has been overwhelming pediatric hospitals and further impacting the supply chain and bed availability.
 
Additionally, encouraging community-wide health initiatives ahead of and during flu season can make a significant difference by lowering the number of individuals who will contract each of the viruses and consequently the number of patients who need treatment. Healthcare facilities can help promote vaccinations and masking to lower the chances of a widespread outbreak within the community, thereby relieving the strain on facilities.
 
Mitigating the spread of infections within facilities is also essential. Associates should be well versed in infectious disease protocols and compliance standards in order to mitigate the risk of exposure and spread while treating patients with highly contagious viruses.

Continue to adjust your plan
Throughout the season, unexpected situations will arise that can create additional demands on your facility, even if your team is well prepared. In addition to having backup plans, continuing to reevaluate goals and strategies to fit current needs can keep operations running smoothly.
By the height of flu season, leadership teams will have a better sense of their facility’s needs moving forward. Implementing new strategies based on new developments and risk assessments can help maintain a safe and effective healing environment.

For support with ensuring your operations run smoothly during the upcoming flu season, request a consultation or email us to learn more about our integrated solutions.