What advice would you give to local business owners to prepare for epidemics?
During epidemics of influenza, businesses often suffer as they lose revenues. Business owners have to address staffing issues as many employees especially those who are in close contact with customers can easily get infected (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2015). To address the issue, owners should try to be prepared for the seasonal epidemic. First, they should address a local healthcare facility that can provide the most recent and relevant information on the matter.
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It is necessary to ask about the possible health risks, factors affecting the spread of the illness, available vaccines, as well as possible negative side effects associated with the use of this kind of medication (May, McCauley, Jeruzal, & Strong, 2015). Nursing professionals are likely to become the hospital’s representatives that will provide the data mentioned above. Business owners can address hospitals, local nursing organizations, public health nurses, and the like.
The second possible solution can be vaccination. Employees’ permission is essential. At that, the owner can ask a nurse from a local hospital to consult employees about the available vaccines. Rebmann, Elliott, Artman, VanNatta, and Wakefield (2015) note that nursing practitioners are mainly in favor of vaccination, so it is likely that the visiting nurse will try to encourage employees to be vaccinated. Finally, it is crucial to instruct employees regarding the most effective prevention measures with the focus on their hygiene.
Apart from a possible investment associated with the assistance of a nurse, the owner will have to pay for vaccines, as well as masks, and other items necessary to remain unaffected by the infection. The instructions mentioned above can also be used for the development of the business as owners can increase the number of goods or introduce products associated with the illness (certain fruit, tissues, scarfs, and so on).
Recommendations to hospital administration to keep their services available for the community
Nursing professionals are often prone to infections as they are in the closest contact with patients and their families. During epidemics of influenza, the burden on local healthcare facilities can increase significantly. In the given scenario, a quarter of the population needs healthcare services while 40% of the nursing staff is unavailable. One of the possible solutions is the use of telemedicine or, at least, some elements of this technological approach (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2015). Telenurses can assist many patients via telephone and the Internet. Patients can receive information regarding their symptoms, their treatment, necessary tests or results, and so on. As to the resources, technological issues will be minimal as hospitals have the necessary resources.
The major issue can be associated with staffing. Some training can be needed as there are some peculiarities of this kind of nursing practice. Telenurses employed at the hospital can train or instruct other nursing practitioners. Importantly, Bell, Dake, Price, Jordan, and Rega (2014) report that many nurses are ready to work from home, so it is possible to address the nursing professionals who are on sick leave to work from home for several hours per week or day. It is also vital to communicate with the community and explain the benefits of telemedicine.
At that, the hospital still needs nurses to make sure that patients receive all the necessary clinical procedures. Some administrative workers can complete some nursing tasks. To encourage healthcare professionals to cooperate actively, it is necessary to provide additional days to vacations, flexible schedules, and other perks. Monetary rewards can also be employed.
Bell, M., Dake, J., Price, J., Jordan, T., & Rega, P. (2014). A national survey of emergency nurses and avian influenza threat. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 40(3), 212-217.
May, T., McCauley, M. P., Jeruzal, J., & Strong, K. A. (2014). Catastrophic events versus infectious disease outbreak: Distinct challenges for emergency planning. Reason Papers, 37(1), 54-64.
Rebmann, T., Elliott, M., Artman, D., VanNatta, M., & Wakefield, M. (2015). Missouri K-12 school disaster and biological event preparedness and seasonal influenza vaccination among school nurses. American Journal of Infection Control, 43(10), 1028-1034.
Stanhope, M., & Lancaster, J. (2015). Public health nursing: Population-centered health care in the community. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Health Sciences.