Flu Season: Making Sure Your Facility is Prepared
Flu season is a big concern for medical providers. You are likely to have higher patient demand, either in the number of people visiting your practice or in more illness amongst the residential patients you serve. You also have to worry about whether your providers get ill and either pose a threat to patients or are unable to serve patients because they are out sick. The flu isn’t just a nuisance – it can prove fatal in some populations, and you must take it seriously.
Proper preparation is key to getting through flu season with a minimum of disruption to services and with maximum protection for your patients. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your facility is prepared for flu season:
Make Vaccines Mandatory and Easy
Most employers recommend that their workers get vaccinated for the flu, and some may even provide recommendations on when and where to get the vaccine. As a health-care agency, you should make it mandatory for all your employees to get the flu vaccine so that they have a lower chance of contracting the virus and spreading it to each other or to patients.
Many health-care agencies do make it mandatory for their providers to get the flu vaccine, but some workers may find it cumbersome to take the time or pay the money to get the vaccine. You can ensure compliance and protect morale by arranging for on-site vaccination, paying for the vaccines, and/or providing time off to get the vaccines. The more you can do to help, the more likely you are to get 100 percent compliance.
Test for Antigens
Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests, or RIDTs, can determine if a person has the antigens for the flu. In other words, it can determine if someone currently has the flu. You can use this test to determine if one of your providers is a risk to patients and needs to get treatment or to stay out of work, or you can use this test to determine if a patient has the flu and needs to get a particular treatment.
As their name suggests, RIDTs work quickly, so they allow you to make critical decisions about patient care for those who are at risk of severe side effects from the flu. You can get better patient outcomes when you use RIDTs.
Plan Ahead for Coverage
Even with everyone using best practices to avoid contracting the flu, some of your providers will still get it. Don’t expect that your current staff will be sufficient if there is an outbreak of the flu. You may lose more providers to outages than you expect, and you may not be able to rely on your remaining staff for coverage.
It takes a while to find appropriate coverage for your health-care agency, so you should plan ahead by at least a couple of months for the flu season. Have vetted providers on call, or have a recruiting agency you can rely on to provide suitable candidates on short notice. You don’t want to get stuck with critically ill patients you can’t treat in the middle of flu season because your own providers are out sick with the same illness.
For many, the flu season is nothing more than a few cold months with maybe a few sniffles. For others, it is rife with serious illness that can keep them out of work or even land them in the hospital. Make sure you plan ahead for flu season so that you protect your workers, as well as your ability to continue serving your patients.
One Stop Recruiting and Medical Billing can help you ensure that you have qualified coverage for your agency in case of outages from the flu. We are a top medical recruiter, and we can help you find the best candidates for any level of care and any kind of treatment. We use the most effective medical recruitment strategies to get the most highly qualified candidates, and we always have a pool of suitable candidates ready for your review. We can help you stay fully staffed in times of emergency, or we can help you find the next members of your long-term health-care staff. Call us today to talk about your medical recruiting needs.