Influenza can be severe in a residential facility due to the age and pre-existing health condition of the residents, and person to person transmission. Immunisation for residents and staff before the start of the flu season is the best protection against influenza.

Information and resources specific to long term care facilities is available below, this includes: information on outbreaks and how to recognise one, procedures should an outbreak occur, information on isolation, hygiene and cleaning, and posters which may be useful.

Reduce the spread

It can be difficult to tell when there is an outbreak of influenza like illness (ILI), compared with the usual background rate of respiratory illnesses.  There are things you can implement to reduce the spread and decrease the risk of an outbreak. These include: infection control, testing and treatment and communication with residents and their families. More information on each of these points is available here. 

Isolation

Place people with influenza like illness in isolation preferably a dedicated room with ensuite or toilet.  Putting a person or persons in an isolation room or initiating an isolation zone will reduce the spread of illness throughout the facility. Further information on setting up isolation is available here.

Cleaning advice

In areas where people are unwell, use a disinfecting solution to wipe down surfaces.  One of the most effective and cheapest solutions is a bleach solution of one teaspoon (5mL) of bleach to half a litre (500mL) of water.

In all areas of the facility increase cleaning of high touch areas such as door handles, telephones and computer keyboards. The same disinfecting solution can be used.

All used tissues and used PPE (masks, gowns and gloves) should be put into a disposable container such as a plastic bag that can be tied off. Full rubbish bags should be emptied promptly.

Dishes and cutlery should be washed either by hand or machine using hot water. There are no special requirements for laundry during an influenza outbreak, continue your usual routine.

Last updated 12 July 2017.