Medical Pharmacies Helps Continuing Care Homes Prepare for Flu Season in the Midst of a Pandemic
In the few months since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been tested on our strength, our perseverance, and our togetherness in these trying times. It is now more important than ever to protect not only the people in our own homes, but also the elderly populations of our continuing care homes.
One small but crucial step we should encourage our residents to follow is getting the flu shot this year, which will keep them safe from flu-related complications and ultimately keep our healthcare system strong for continued COVID-19 response.
It is a known fact that the likelihood of flu-related complications among older adults is significantly higher than average. Specifically, up to 70% of influenza-related hospitalizations and up to 90% of deaths occur in this vulnerable population (CDC).
However, the risk of hospitalization in older adults is reduced by up to 40% when they are vaccinated against the flu (CDC). Nursing staff will have also observed that seniors with heart disease are less likely to suffer from cardiac events, and those with diabetes and chronic lung disease are less likely to be hospitalized after getting the flu shot.
As we enter the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s healthcare system is once again under great strain due to the rapid increase in hospitalizations (CTV News). This comes during the annual flu season, when healthcare providers already see an influx of patients. In our vulnerable seniors, without an adequate plan to prevent influenza outbreaks, we risk depleting the scarce healthcare resources that could be used to treat COVID-19. Further, influenza and COVID-19 symptoms are very similar, hence flu vaccination and prevention of outbreaks could help reduce redundant COVID-19 testing.
Medical Pharmacies Group is committed to supporting staff and residents of continuing care homes during influenza outbreaks. Our one-of-a-kind Influenza Preparedness Program helps minimize the time nursing staff and prescribers spend on preparing for and handling influenza outbreaks. This program can be customized to meet the unique needs of the homes we service, enabling nursing staff to avoid completing lengthy spreadsheets with weights and lab values, which leads to rapid response toward residents starting treatment.
Our comprehensive program ensures our pharmacists have doses pre-calculated year-round, so we are ready for an outbreak at a moment’s notice. Ultimately, our goal is the same as yours – to help reduce the spread of influenza in our homes to limit flu-related complications and death, particularly during a pandemic. Ask your pharmacist about getting the flu shot for your home.