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Indiana Nursing Homes Must Be Vigilant During This Deadly Flu Season

Steve Wagner

Synopsis

  • Indianapolis is currently witnessing the deadliest flu activity in years, triggering the State Health Commissioner to tell people with mild symptoms to stay away from nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
  • People 65 years and older are at especially high risk for complications from flu. Extra precautions should be made to keep them safe by providing symptom awareness education and checking in on nursing home residents during and after any sickness has occurred.
  • Common flu symptoms include a fever of 100 degrees, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and cough and can leave people contagious for up to seven days after those symptoms first appear.
  • Long-term care providers, such as nursing homes, should be extra vigilant in implementing influenza prevention measures to avoid flu-related complications and outbreaks.

Deadly Flu Season Leaves Indiana’s Failing Long-Term Care Residences Vulnerable

In 2017, AARP delivered Indiana’s long-term care services the nation’s poorest score. For the already struggling care system, influenza outbreaks and flu-related illnesses can be especially concerning for residents in those facilities. This is an important time for families to take the extra steps and ensure their loved one’s nursing home is providing the kind of support needed to safeguard workers and its residents from one of country’s most dangerous flu seasons. Indiana’s state health officials say the number of flu-related deaths this season had reached 167 by early February 2018, with no real sign of the virus hitting its peak.

Prevention of Influenza Outbreaks

The spread of influenza in nursing homes most easily occurs among patients, staff, and visitors. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggest that administrators be prepared to manage their facility during the flu season by:

  1. Implementing hygiene etiquette for staff, residents, or visitors to prevent the spread of the potential flu virus.
  2. Closely monitoring staff or residents with the flu related symptoms.
  3. Follow infection control precautions.
  4. Prepare a flu outbreak prevention plan.

Influenza Symptoms and Post-Flu Risks

This flu is different from a cold and usually comes on strong and suddenly. Staff should be watching residents for the common symptoms which can include a fever of 100 degrees, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and cough. People with the flu are generally contagious for up to seven days after those symptoms first appear.

Pneumonia, bacterial bloodstream infections, and sepsis are examples of serious influenza-related complications that are common and more likely to happen to elderly persons. The flu can also lead to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and disability in elderly patients for months after they have recovered from their illness. Long-term care residents should be closely monitored even after their flu symptoms have passed.

Wagner Reese Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys Can Help

We expect our parents, relatives, and elderly friends to be kept safe in nursing homes from neglect. And while we may not be able to protect them from coming in contact with influenza, nursing home workers should be providing an acceptable standard of care during and after an illness.

Stephen Wagner and Jason Reese can handle your long-term care or nursing home negligence claim with years of experience and proven results. Call the law firm of Wagner Reese today (888) 204-8440 or connect with us by submitting our online form and our attorneys will review your information.

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