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What should nursing homes do to prevent influenza outbreaks?

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2023 | Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect

When you have a loved one in a nursing home, you expect them to get all the care they need. When flu season rolls around, it should mean extra care and diligence.

During the 2019-2020 flu season, the CDC reported that people 65 and older accounted for 43% of hospitalizations and 62% of deaths related to the flu. The top three ways nursing homes can reduce the chances of an outbreak include:

1. Vaccinate

All patients and nursing staff need to get vaccinated. CDC studies have shown that higher rates of vaccination dramatically reduce the chances of flue facility-spread flu cases. While the vaccination should happen prior to the start of flu season, any new patients or healthcare personnel should still get the vaccine.

2. Monitor and test

Whether flu season or not, any resident with flu-like symptoms or a respiratory illness should get tested. Staff should also monitor any other residents the ill patient has come into contact with. If the tests confirm the presence of the flu, the facility needs to enact prevention measures.

3. Establish prevention and control protocols

Hopefully, where your loved one lives already has protocols in place. Some of these protocols include:

  • Wearing masks
  • Keeping infected patients in a private room or area
  • Replacing gowns or gloves between visiting patients
  • Restricting visitation during a community outbreak
  • Monitoring personnel who have called in sick
  • Limiting personnel from moving between infected and uninfected areas

At the first signs of flu symptoms, your loved one should seek immediate treatment.