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Many Hospitals Are Not Ready for H1N1: Nurse Survey Shows Deficiencies in Hospital Swine Flu Readiness
Date:8/26/2009

OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- A patient health and safety survey of 190 American hospitals from coast to coast compiled by registered nurses in eight different states finds that a disturbing number of our nation's healthcare facilities are not prepared for the coming H1N1/swine flu pandemic, according to results released today by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.

The data reflects a survey conducted over the past four weeks by RNs in hospitals in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

What the RNs reported are wide gaps in safety gear, infection control training, and post-exposure procedures. Among key findings:

  • At more than one-fourth of the hospitals, nurses cite inadequate isolation of swine flu patients, increasing the risk of infection to others.
  • Nurses at 15 percent of hospitals do not have access to the proper respirator masks, exposing nurses and patients to infection; at up to 40 percent of the hospitals, nurses are expected to re-use masks, in violation of Centers for Disease Control Guidelines.
  • At 18 percent of the hospitals, RNs report that nurses have become infected; one Sacramento, Calif. RN has already died.

CNA/NNOC is calling on all hospitals to adhere to the highest standard of protection for patients and nurses to combat the expected onslaught of new cases this fall and winter, and urging legislators to strengthen public protections.

"These continuing problems increase the risk that many hospitals will become vectors for infection, with inadequate patient protections leading to a spread of the pandemic among other patients, their friends, family, and caregivers, and the surrounding communit
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SOURCE California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee
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