Almost One-Third of Nursing Home Employees Do Not Get Flu Shots – Learn the Risks

Nursing Home Blog

Getting the flu can be dangerous for anybody, but it’s especially risky for people who are over 65 years old. Older adults have weaker immune systems, which makes them more likely to have serious complications when they catch the flu. As many as 85 percent of the people who die of seasonal flu-related causes are age 65 or older. It’s critical to protect the elderly from exposure to the flu virus.

Nursing Homes Lag Behind Hospitals

If health care workers are infected with the flu, they could transmit the disease to their vulnerable patients. That is why it is so important for health care workers to get flu shots. Hospitals recognize this. More than 92 percent of the people who work in hospitals do get flu shots.

Nursing homes, unfortunately, lag behind hospitals. Only 68 percent of the people who work in nursing homes get flu shots, even though they are working with an especially vulnerable population.

Vaccinating Nursing Home Staff Protects Residents’ Health

A study has shown that when nursing home staff members get flu shots, the chances of a flu outbreak at the facility drop dramatically. Vaccinating staff members is a simple and highly effective way to protect the health of elderly residents.

Poll Shows Most People Want Nursing Home Staff to Get Flu Shots

AARP and the University of Michigan recently conducted a poll that found that the majority of people over age 50 think that all staff members working in nursing homes should get flu shots. A large majority of the people polled also thought that nursing home workers should be offered the shots for free, and that they should stay home if they didn’t get a shot and subsequently became sick.

Because of the nature of nursing home care, close physical contact between staff members and residents is often necessary. The director of the AARP/Michigan poll emphasized how important vaccinations are for staff members whose jobs involve this kind of close contact.

What You Can Do

If you are choosing a nursing home for an elderly loved one, ask how many staff members get annual flu shots.

If you ever suspect that your loved one may not be getting proper care in a nursing home, you can talk to an experienced, dedicated nursing home abuse lawyer. Call us at Garcia & Artigliere at (800) 281-8515 to find out how we can help.