Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Dead Healthcare Workers Do Not Provide Good Patient Care

This statement from a union representative may seem obvious to most of us, but not apparently to the Bush administration. Labor unions who represent health care workers are none too happy with the recently released White House Avian Flu plan, according to Inside OSHA (subscription required). The guidance is ineffective and contradictory.
HHS recommends that workers use surgical or procedure masks when entering a patient’s room. However, labor groups say that this is not enough and that an N95 respirator, which is recommended by the World Health Organization, should be required for all healthcare workers. HHS only recommends use of the N95 mask when performing aerosolgenerating procedures such as intubation, nebulizer treatment, bronchoscopy and suctioning. But CDC, which is part of HHS, recommends that healthcare workers always use N95 respirators or better.
Union reps fear that if health care workers do not feel they're being adequately protected, they won't show up for work in the event of a pandemic.