The news this winter has followed a familiar path regarding the frequency and effects of flu outbreaks in nursing homes. I previously blogged on this topic.
Norovirus, flu, group a strep, whatever the infectious process… don’t we owe our elderly and infirm a safe environment in which to live? In 2007, more and more nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the U.S. reported widespread outbreaks of preventable diseases. My law firm has been involved in 3 lawsuits in my community alone where the results of an infectious outbreak lead to death (two residents) and loss of a leg (one resident). Why do so many frail and elderly have to die from something that can be prevented?
This problem is not hard to stop and maybe the nursing home industry is starting to take note. The American Medical Directors Association is the professional association of medical directors and physicians practicing in the long term care industry. This organization recently published the results of a study which found that flu outbreaks in nursing homes are almost 60 percent less likely to occur when at least 55 percent of staff and 89 percent of residents are vaccinated for the flu. Just imagine what those numbers might be with 100% vaccination for both residents and staff! All nursing homes and assisted living facilities should be required to vaccinate their residents and staff.