Newsroom > DHHS News Release

February 23, 2011

Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047

More Flu Precautions at GIVH

Lincoln—The Grand Island Veterans’ Home is adding precautionary measures to those previously instituted at the facility to avoid exposing members to influenza.

“These new precautionary measures are in addition to those put in place two weeks ago,” said Alex Willford, Administrator of GIVH. “We’re being proactive because we’re seeing more cases of flu in the general community.”

Members are being asked to stay on their own living units. All services will continue to be provided to members on the units, rather than in common living or service areas.

“Keeping activities and services on each unit will confine the spread of flu to a unit and not allow it to travel throughout the facility,” Willford said. “Keeping things unit-based will mean less mingling of members amongst themselves and with other staff and visitors.”

The new precautionary measures will mean that activities will take place on the unit, rather than in a commons area. Books and DVDs from the library will be taken in carts to each unit. Recreational activities will take place on the units instead of in the crafts area. The Fox Hole canteen will still be available to members but carts with purchasable items will be taken to the units. Beautician and barber appointments are cancelled for this week. Rehabilitation services (occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy) will be provided by staff on the units.

Members will eat in their unit dining rooms. Staff will clear the trays and wipe down the tables for the next group.

Medical staff will determine if an out-of-facility appointment, such as a specialist’s appointment, must be kept or if it can be postponed until the level of flu in the community has subsided.

All members who attend the medical clinic at the Home are required to wear a mask to, from and during the clinic appointment.

As of Monday, all staff members were required to wear masks. Personnel are taking the usual precautions, like handwashing, advised by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Staff members who are ill are not allowed back to work for five days.

Visitors are strongly encouraged to wear masks. They can enter through the main door by the switchboard and staff will provide them with masks. Guests with symptoms of illness should visit when they recover. Signs have been posted on the doors advising guests of the situation.

“We will review our precautionary measures on Friday to see if they can be cancelled or if they have to be continued,” Willford said.