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Report Offers Resources for Home Health Care Response During a Flu Pandemic
Date:7/8/2008

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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, was released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 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.

"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 M. Clancy, M.D. "This report offers practical advice and potential strategies to ensure that home health care can meet emergency demands and continue to provide safe, high-quality care."

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 condi
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SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
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