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Articles Tagged with influenza outbreak

Steve Levin

A message from Attorney Steven Levin

I have a loved one in a nursing home and I’m concerned about COVID-19 exposure. What should I do?

The first step is to call the director of nursing at your family member’s facility and ask about the steps they are taking to protect residents and staff. By this point, all facilities should have a written policy and action plan available for distribution. If your facility does not, request that they create it as soon as possible, and follow up until they do. Facilities should already be following longstanding CDC guidelines for infection prevention. Here are some questions that can guide your inquiry into whether they currently comply with the rules: https://www.cdc.gov/longtermcare/pdfs/factsheet-core-elements-10-infection-prevention-questions.pdf

Although nursing homes are equipped with infection control recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and required to follow them by state and local health agencies – they simply are not. USA TODAY is reporting that “75% of U.S. nursing homes have been cited for failing to properly monitor and control infections in the last three years — a higher proportion than previously known.” These failures, often controlled by understaffed shifts, overworked caregivers, and less than 10% of facilities with infection-control specialty trained staff, all provide proof to predict that nursing homes are going to have even a tougher time preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Steven Levin, founding partner and attorney at Levin & Perconti, recently spoke to USA TODAY on the dangerous yet stagnant issue of the spread of infectious disease in nursing homes, remarking that, “The nursing homes that we deal with have extreme difficulty in handling everyday infections, and it’s an infection-rich environment.”

flu injections

5 Ways to Prevent the Flu from Spreading in Illinois Nursing Homes

An estimated 80,000 people across the U.S. died of flu-related illnesses during the 2017-18 flu season, according to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And with the flu season well on its way to another deadly peak, reports of the very young and the very old being hit the worst are starting to emerge. Many of the elderly flu victims, those ages 65 years and older, are at greater risk for developing serious complications and are also residents of nursing home and long-term care communities. With flu activity expected to rise in the weeks and months ahead, be sure your loved one’s nursing home is prepared.

  1. Hand Washing and Hygiene: Health care facilities should provide frequent staff training on infection prevention techniques and management, including hand washing, equipment sterilization, identifying sick patients for isolation, and the quick identification of flu symptoms and treatment methods. Good hand hygiene should especially be practiced before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and upon removal of personal protective equipment, including gloves. Residents and guests should be encouraged to perform hand hygiene.

Influenza Outbreak

Flu season and seasonal outbreak of influenza and cold virus infection as a medical health care concept with a calendar background and three dimensional human disease cells.

Severe and Fatal Illnesses Caused by Influenza Outbreaks in Nursing Homes

Each year, the flu continues to be one of the deadliest illnesses in the United States, with the elderly affected most severely. More than 7.3 million flu cases in adults aged 65 years and older were tracked in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Many of these patients were also residents of nursing homes and care facilities responsible for following an influenza vaccine plan before the season begins in September and administering the vaccines throughout flu activity. Unfortunately, many nursing homes and long-term care facilities are not necessarily prepared for the program designed to also prevent a deadly flu outbreak among residents and staff.

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