Are You Ready for the 2019 – 2020 Flu Season???

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

The flu season is fast approaching and you as well as your facility/community need to be prepared!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older. Influenza is a serious health threat, especially to vulnerable populations like people 65 and older, who are at high risk for hospitalization and developing serious complications. Vaccinate by the end of October – to help protect your patients, your staff, and yourself.                     (Bolding, italics and underlining added by this author.)

Medicare Part B covers:

  • Influenza virus vaccine once per influenza season • Additional influenza vaccines if medically necessary

For more information:

Another great resource is Charting a Path to Increase Immunization Rates in the Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Settings.  This 24-page white paper was developed by The Gerontological Society of America National Adult Vaccination Program and was published in 2018.

“Vaccines are a critically important tool for reducing morbidity and mortality among older residents in long-term care settings, including skilled nursing care centers, assisted living communities, and post-acute care facilities. Influenza and pneumonia, which are typically combined in mortality analyses, are the eighth leading cause of deaths among Americans, and 90% of those fatalities occur in people aged 65 years or older.

A five-step implementation process is useful for changing people’s behaviors initially and motivating them over time:

  1. Educating staff and residents with a focus on teaching benefits of the intervention and de-implementing negativities.
  2. Evaluating and establishing appropriate resources.
  3. Establishing a vaccine plan for the year.
  4. Mentoring and motivating staff and residents to comply with the plan.
  5. Monitoring results that show the benefits of the plan such as reduction in staff sick days during flu season, fewer days of restricted admissions or access, and decrease in cases of influenza and pneumonia compared with prior years.”

I strongly encourage you and your team to review all of these great resources in preparation for flu season.  You won’t regret it!