Is Your Loved One’s Nursing Home Ready For Flu Season?

2018 expected to be a bad year for the flu

Influenza (also known as the flu) is here. And thanks to a less than perfect vaccine and mixed weather patterns, many public health officials believe it is only going to get worse. No matter what strain we are talking about, the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) estimates flu will remain a major killer in 2018, which has taken the lives of 12,000 Americans in mild years and 56,000 in moderately severe ones. The CDC expects this year to be moderately severe with about 80 percent of cases from the H3N2 strain. This strain causes most hospitalizations and tends to kill more of the very young and very old.

Since influenza is easily transmitted in community settings and Indiana ranks worst in the nation for seniors in long-term care housing, now is a good time to pop into your loved one’s nursing home to learn about the influenza prevention measures they are taking to avoid flu-related complications and outbreaks.

7 Questions to Ask Long-Term Care Providers

Because the spread of influenza can occur among patients, staff, and visitors, the CDC says there are several different approaches that can prevent the transmission of influenza within your loved one’s community. When you visit with the administrative staff, discuss and ask questions about:

  1. Was the influenza vaccine given to all residents and staff?
  2. Has anyone, residents or staff, been diagnosed with the flu this year?
  3. Is there any type of respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette taught to staff, residents, or visitors?
  4. What happens if health care staff are ill?
  5. Will I be notified if my loved one has flu-like symptoms?
  6. Are there any infection control precautions for patient-care activities?
  7. What other types of infection control measures do you have in place?

Like with any care strategy, a flu outbreak prevention plan will only be carried out by clear administrative policies and staff that follow the plan. If you are concerned about the long-term care facility your loved one resides in, take extra precaution in asking and finding answers to these questions. 

How To Identify Influenza Symptoms

In addition to checking in with your loved one a bit more this season, let them know that the flu is different from a cold and usually comes on suddenly. Watch for these symptoms.

  • Body aches (more than usual)
  • Cough
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Feeling feverish/chills (not everyone will have a fever though)
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children.

Other illnesses can follow influenza. Pneumonia is common and more likely to happen to people who have certain chronic medical conditions, or in elderly persons. Be sure you continue your more than regular check-ins even after flu symptoms have subsided to ensure their best care.

Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

If you have a bad feeling about the care your loved one is receiving in an Indiana long-term care facility, we are here to talk you through what happened and what type of actions can be made to hold those responsible liable for their negligent actions. Simply complete this form to contact the Baker Law Team for your free initial consultation, or call our attorneys at 317-899-909.