Acouncil of long-term care professionals has issued guidelines fordealing with suspected or actual outbreaks of H1N1, or swine flu. Therecommendations came out late last week, just hours before the firstsuspected cases of the flu at nursing facilities began to surface.

Reportscirculated Friday about three NY nursing home residents suspected ofhaving contracted H1N1. In addition, a nursing aide was believed tohave contracted the sickness after visiting Mexico and returning towork before symptoms surfaced.

TheLong-Term Care Professional Leadership Council urged pro-activeplanning and interventions in its guidelines.“Bytaking steps to prepare, facility leadership can exhibit confidenceand calm. This preparation is important regardless of the outcome ofthe present S-OIV [swine-origin influenza A virus] outbreak since aninfluenza pandemic can happen at any time,” the LTCPLC noted.

Amongthe recommendations: All facility staff should be trained torecognize flu symptoms before they hit, and any person who developsflu-type symptoms should be considered a possible cause, until provenotherwise. Coordination with pharmacies and local health officialsalso is emphasized.Membersof the LTCPLC include the American College of Health CareAdministrators; the American Medical Directors Association; theAmerican Society of Consultant Pharmacists; and the NationalAssociation Directors of Nursing Administration/Long Term Care(NADONA).