We wrote "Pandemic Flu Home Care: A Detailed Guide for Caring for the Ill at Home" to meet specific consumer needs for practical information. We attended large pandemic flu planning meetings and small discussion groups where people expressed the need for information that they could use if a pandemic occurred and health care was not easily available. We also reviewed existing national and state plans and home care information for consumers available in late 2007 and early 2008.
What was lacking:
A survey found that "85% of adults thought they could take care of a sick household member for 7-10 days" but "76% worried about becoming sick themselves"(p. 780). More than 24% of the adults said they would not have anyone to help take care of them if they became sick.1 Therefore, our book gives detailed information about forming support networks we call "communities of care "and detailed information about infection prevention and control in the home.
Comprehensive information about how to set up a sick room
Skills needed for the home care of sick children and adults including infection control measures
Information on caring for someone with severe symptoms if health care was not available
Information on the emotional and social issues of loss
Information on emergency food and water storage beyond 3 days.
An emphasis on groups of people working together to help one another
What is unique in our approach:
- The specificity of detail
- Helping people prepare before the skills are needed
- The assumption that healthcare might not be available if a severe pandemic occurs
- How to establish a community of care
- Information on three levels of infection control depending on the type of exposure to individuals who are ill
- How to handle the stress resulting from the infrastructure not functioning to full capacity
- How to handle grief and other emotions resulting from the death of loved ones and the disruption to the routines of daily life.
The resources used to develop "Pandemic Flu Home Care: A guide for Caring for the Ill at Home" include recommendations from:
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- The World Health Organization (WHO)
- The American Academy of Pediatrics
- US Department of Health and Human Services
The social-emotional information presented is based on recommendations from:
- The Sphere Project: Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response
- The work of Hobofoll et al "Five Essential Elements of Immediate and Mid-term Mass Trauma Intervention: Empirical Evidence. Published in Psychiatry, January 1, 2007. An assessment of best intervention practices authored by 20 experts in the field from around the world.
- See References for the complete listing of the resources used to create the "Pandemic Flu Home Care:A Guide for Caring for the Ill at Home."
Our goal has been to present information based on current research and to give individuals, families, and communities resources to deal with the psychosocial impact of a pandemic.
1 Blendon, R.J. L.M. Koonin, J.M. Benson, M.S. Cetron, W.E. Pollard, E.W. Mitchell EW, et al. "Public Response to Community Mitigation Measures for Pandemic Influenza," Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol 15, No 5, May 2008, pp778-786. accessed 25 April 2008.