Pandemic Influenza Guidance for Homecare Providers
Swine flu (H1N1) was responsible for the flu pandemic in 2009/2010. The virus was first identified in Mexico and spread rapidly across the world. Although some vulnerable people became seriously ill or died, the outbreak was not as serious as feared and the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the pandemic over in August 2010. Most cases reported in the UK were mild but the pandemic did result in extensive planning and preparation in the health and social care sectors to ensure they could handle the outbreak.
As part of good practice contingency planning, UKHCA produced an information pack, "Pandemic Influenza Guidance for Homecare Providers", which was updated frequently. The last version was Version 11.0, dated: 26th February 2010, which is retained on this webpage for reference purposes.
In the event of a similar pandemic being identified by WHO, UKHCA would revise the guidance using whatever new information is available. Providers could then check this page for the latest information.
Pandemic 'flu contingency plan template for domiciliary care
UKHCA also developed a business contingency planning template for swine 'flu in 2009. This template for UKHCA members provides some ideas about what homecare organisations need to think about in their preparation for a flu pandemic. It is not a wholly comprehensive list, nor will all the suggestions be applicable in different organisations. However it provides a basis for organisations to feed into their own contingency planning arrangements.
Download the Pandemic 'flu contingency plan template for domiciliary care
Nobody knows when another flu pandemic will happen, nor which strain of virus will be responsible. Regardless of the timescale, the services of homecare providers will be essential for the wellbeing of service users, as will be the ability of homecare workers to maintain their health and safety while working under exceptional circumstances.
Organisations may be interested in UKHCA's Infection Control Pack which consists of training guide, written exercises, overhead projector slides, glossary, frequently asked questions on the UKHCA Helpline, and a CD with electronic versions of the materials. The pack is £25.00 per copy for UKHCA members and £50.00 for non-members.
Annual seasonal flu immunisation programme
Each winter there is a rise in illness caused by seasonal flu viruses. Most people recover without treatment, but flu vaccination is recommended for those who are at a higher risk of complications and those in health and social care who care for them.
Flu planning takes place annually along with other winter planning. Organisations leading health policy usually issue a flu plan which details the priority groups and other preparation for the ‘flu’ season.
Seasonal flu season 2015/16
There is general information on flu vaccination and for providers on vaccinating health and social care staff, in the following:
Immunisation against infectious disease (The Green Book): www.gov.uk/government/publications/influenza-the-green-book-chapter-19 (this is UK-wide and updated frequently).
England: Flu Plan Winter 2015/16 - see pages 40-42 on the health and social care worker vaccination programme:
E-learning programme written by Public Health England for anyone delivering the flu immunisation programme: www.gov.uk/government/collections/annual-flu-programme
Northern Ireland: Flu Aware NI: fluawareni.info/
Letter, 8 July 2015 on the Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Programme 2015/2016: www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/hss-md-13-2015.pdf - see Annex 4.
Scotland: Immunisation Scotland: www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/seasonalflu/index.aspx?utm_source=print&utm_campaign=flu
Information for health and social care workers: www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/seasonalflu/healthcare.aspx
Letter 10 July 2015, on Seasonal influenza vaccination programme 2015-16: www.sehd.scot.nhs.uk/cmo/CMO (2015)12.pdf
Wales: Welsh Health Circular, 8 June 2015: gov.wales/docs/dhss/publications/150608whc28en.pdf
Public Health Wales: www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/43745
Flu Vaccines for Social Care Workers: www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/74714
The above are updated from time to time, so providers will wish to check for updates to the relevant government websites.
UKHCA Policy and Campaigns Team