Infection prevention disaster preparedness planning for long-term care facilities

Am J Infect Control. 2012 Apr;40(3):206-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2011.03.029. Epub 2011 Aug 15.


Background: Long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are defined as residential institutions that provide care to people who are unable to live independently. Planning for infection prevention in disaster situations is essential for LTCFs because of the increased risk inherent in their patient population. Experiences with past disasters, such as pandemic influenza and Hurricane Katrina, have demonstrated where LTCFs are lacking in preparedness and opportunities for improvement. Little guidance is currently available to assist these facilities in creating an infection prevention component for their disaster plans. This paper is intended to guide the development of an infection prevention component of the LTCF disaster plan.

Methods: A literature review and Internet search were conducted in September 2010. A spreadsheet was created with infection prevention topics for disaster plans that were identified. Recommendations were divided into themes/domains for simplification and clarity.

Results: Fifty-eight articles, planning documents/reports, and Web-based training programs were identified and screened. Of the sources screened, 33 publications were determined to be relevant; 22 of which were peer-reviewed journal articles, and 11 were state, federal, or regulatory agency publications.

Conclusion: Whereas there were multiple publications related to the difficulties and risk factors LTCFs face in disasters, there were no publications that specifically addressed infection prevention in disasters or planning specific to infection prevention concerns in disasters in long-term care. LTCF administrators or others responsible for disaster planning in LTCFs are encouraged to use this article as a guide to developing comprehensive infection prevention policies and protocols for their emergency operations plan.

MeSH terms

  • Civil Defense / methods*
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Disasters*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care / methods*