Lack of sufficient safety gear, infection control training, and knowledge of post-exposure procedures are jeopardizing H1N1 readiness in hospitals in at least nine states.
That's the conclusion from a survey of 190 health facilities sponsored by the California Nurses Association and the National Nurses Organizing Committee.
The two groups released a list of demands they call "The Nurses Swine Flu Safety Agenda," which seeks to pressure hospitals to require more strict adherence to federally recommended infection control guidelines.
Among the findings:
The survey was conducted at hospitals in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas, and comes just after the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology suggested two million Americans might be hospitalized, and 90,000 could die in an H1N1 outbreak this year in the U.S. That's three times the usual number of deaths during a typical influenza season.
"These continuing problems increase the risk that many hospitals will become vectors for infection, with inadequate patient protections leading to a spread of the pandemic among other patients, their friends, family and caregivers, and the surrounding community," warned Deborah Burger, co-president for the CNA and NNOC.
"What we're hearing from around the country is dangerous to patient health and safety, but with smart and clinically appropriate leadership, we can fix policies in time for the upcoming pandemic."