As if the cold temperatures of winter are not bad enough, every January and February “Flu Season” comes around, putting an extra damper on anyone’s season who is unlucky enough to contract the persistent and infectious disease. However, for some the flu is more than a pesky illness that requires we use a few sick days from work. To the elderly, the flu can be a life threatening illness.
One recent article by the Frederick News-Post notes that, while Frederick Memorial Hospital requires all hospital staff to be vaccinated, nursing home employees are not required to get the flu vaccine. Considering that nursing home employees work with an extremely vulnerable population—the same as the hospital employees—a nursing home employee’s failure to get vaccinated may have devastating repercussions, should an outbreak hit a nursing home.
The Effects of the Flu on the Elderly
To most of us, getting the flu means that we will have to take a week off of work, at the worst. However, the elderly are an especially vulnerable population. In fact, according to the government website, flu.gov, 90% of all flu-related deaths occur in people over the age of 65. This is due mostly to the fact that, as we age, our immune systems grow weaker and have a more difficult time fighting off the flu virus.
What to Do During Flu Season
The government recommends that all seniors (unless a doctor suggests otherwise) get vaccinated for the flu each year. There are two choices seniors have when getting vaccinated:
- The regular dose flu sot; or
- A higher-dose flu shot designed specifically for the elderly.
The higher-dose shot is designed to affect a stronger immune response from the body, decreasing the chance that the patient will contract the flu that season. Of course, all seniors should speak to their health care provider to determine which option is right for them.
Nursing Homes, the Flu, and Your Loved Ones
As mentioned above, nursing home employees are rarely required to get vaccinated for the flu. This can lead to flu outbreaks in care facilities that tend to the needs of a very vulnerable population. Make sure that your loved ones are secure and well cared for in a safe, reputable nursing home. The peace of mind that you will experience knowing that they are safe is priceless.
Has Someone You Love Been Mistreated or Provided Inadequate Medical Care by Nursing Home Staff?
If you or someone you love has been placed in a facility that has provided inadequate care, neglected their basic needs, abused them, or violated them in any other way, you may be entitled to recover damages from the nursing home for violating their duty of care. Every nursing home accepts a duty when they accept a patient and when a nursing home fails to live up to this duty, people can get hurt—or worse. To speak to an experienced Maryland nursing home attorney today and to discuss the facts of your case, call 410-654-3600 or contact our firm online.
More Blog Posts:
Egregious Case of Nursing Home Neglect Leads to Federal Lawsuit, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published December 18, 2013.
D.C. Court of Appeals Examines Meaning of Reckless Indifference in Criminal Neglect of Vulnerable Adult Appeal, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published November 25, 2013.