Flu prevention in long-term care facilities is nothing to take lightly. As you know, senior residents are especially vulnerable to flu and developing flu-related complications, like pneumonia. Not to mention, the 2017-2018 flu season was especially bad, killing more people than it has in decades.
If spread, the flu in nursing homes can be deadly for at-risk residents. When there’s an influenza outbreak in a long-term care facility, mortality rates among residents often exceed 5 percent. Plus, it can have a big impact on your staff. If the proper influenza precautions for nurses and staff aren’t taken and members of your team get sick, it can mean a shortage of staff when you need it most.
Tips for preventing the flu in nursing homes
Take a stand against the flu in your facility by reminding staff daily of these simple prevention tips. Here are four ways your team can actively prevent an influenza outbreak in your long-term care facility. (Scroll down for a helpful printable version of these tips.)
- Get the flu shot. – The Center for Disease Control recommends everyone over 6-months of age gets a flu shot to help prevent the spread of disease.
- Wash hands for at least 20 seconds. – Viruses that cause colds and the flu are most often transmitted on the hands. If staff get in to the habit of washing hands for at least 20 seconds, it can help stop the spread of germs.
- Cough into elbow, not hands. – If a tissue is unavailable, it is important to cough in to elbows. Coughing into hands can cause germs to be spread to other people or objects, such as door knobs, computer keys or elevator buttons.
- Stay home if you’re sick. – It can be difficult to miss a day of work but staying home when you’re sick will help stop the spread of sickness to other team members and residents.
Print out these tips using the link below. Having these influenza precautions for nurses and staff easily visible throughout the work day can serve as a helpful reminder.
Here are some ideas for using this print-out in your LTC facility!
- Hand one out to all team members and explain each tip in detail.
- Hang above sinks where staff will be washing their hands.
- Place in dining areas to remind team members who are serving food.
- Place on office doors for all staff to glance at as they come in and out.
- Hand out to the families of residents so they can practice these tips, too.
For additional help preventing the flu in nursing homes, learn more about HealthDirect’s pharmacy consulting services. Our team can help you fight against the flu all season long.