Influenza Epidemic Places Nursing Home Residents in Illinois and Nationwide at Risk

The current influenza outbreak is reportedly the worst the nation has seen in more than a decade. Earlier this month, the nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared that influenza has officially spread to epidemic levels. CDC data claims that 41 states are currently experiencing widespread influenza activity. During the first half of January, an estimated 128 million flu vaccines were reportedly administered to individuals throughout the country. That number purportedly accounts for about 95 percent of the influenza vaccines that were expected to be produced fot the U.S. over the course of the entire year. The CDC currently recommends that all health care personnel obtain a flu vaccine in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.

This flu season, a record number of cases were allegedly reported in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities located in Illinois and throughout the nation. Because the flu is more likely to prove fatal to the elderly and individuals with underlying health conditions, it is especially important for skilled nursing facility workers to remain vigilant with regard to preventing the spread of illness. Nursing homes are encouraged to provide disease prevention education materials to anyone who lives in, works at, or visits their facility. In addition, signs should be posted at each entrance to warn others regarding any potential flu or other outbreaks. Whenever possible, masks should be worn by anyone with a cough, facility employees should be encouraged to stay home when feeling ill, and the Illinois Health Department should be notified regarding any suspected cases of the flu. As always, frequent hand washing is vital.

According to Michelle Stober, a registered nurse with Pathway Health Services, it is important for skilled nursing facilities to properly prepare, prevent, and respond to any influenza or other outbreak. Stober said all nursing homes should develop a comprehensive communication plan with not only state authorities, but also direct care and other employees, and facility visitors such as volunteers and the family members of residents. Stober reportedly believes such a plan may help everyone work together to keep the elderly and disabled safe from the flu virus.

Because long-term care facility residents generally live in close proximity to one another, communicable diseases like the flu are often spread easily. Appropriate sanitation measures are necessary to ensure the health of nursing home patients. Despite that skilled nursing facility workers in Illinois are required to take simple precautionary measures designed to control the spread of disease, many reportedly fail to do so. Regrettably, this can have a disastrous impact on facility residents. If your friend or loved one died after he or she contracted a preventable disease at an Illinois nursing home, you should speak to a skilled nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer.

If your elderly or disabled family member was hurt or died as a result of nursing home caregiver neglect or abuse, please contact the dedicated attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today. Our hardworking Chicago area nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers are available 24 hours per day, every day of the week to help you protect the rights of your loved ones. For a free consultation with a capable attorney, give Abels & Annes, P.C. a call at (312) 475-9596.

More Blogs:

Seniors in Illinois and Nationwide May Receive Inadequate Care from Private Medical Providers, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, January 20, 2013
Recent Study Suggests For-Profit Nursing Homes in Illinois and Nationwide are More Likely to Overcharge Medicare While Neglecting Seniors, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, January 16, 2013
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Influenza outbreaks hit long-term care, by Michelle Stober,

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