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Long Term Care Council preparing for a pandemic

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  • Long Term Care Council preparing for a pandemic

    Posted Online: June 8, 2006
    Long Term Care Council preparing for a pandemic

    To the Editor:

    Recently ABC aired its movie, "Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America." Although some have labeled the movie as sensationalistic, the possibility of a bird flu epidemic is still very real. If a pandemic starts, everyone in Illinois could be at risk. The time to start planning for this crisis is now.

    The Illinois Council on Long Term Care, a statewide association representing 26,000 long-term care professionals, is preparing its members for the possibility of a pandemic flu outbreak. Nursing homes serve very high risk and susceptible populations, and the Illinois council wants to make sure that the state's 100,000 nursing home residents are protected.

    The Illinois council is attending flu pandemic conferences sponsored by the Illinois Department of Public Health, including exercises for enacting public safety responses during the stages of this crisis. The council is monitoring notices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure that all necessary safety steps are taken. In addition, the council has written several clinical newsletters on the avian flu pandemic and is drafting a model facility policy for its membership.

    Illinois nursing homes are dedicated to protecting the health, safety and well being of the vulnerable populations we serve. We cannot assume that a flu pandemic simply won't happen, no matter how minimal its chances of occurring. The stakes are simply too high. The Illinois council will continue to be vigilant in educating its members about preparing for this crisis, safeguarding those elderly Illinois citizens who are most at risk.

    Terrence Sullivan

    Executive Director

    Illinois Council on Long Term Care