CDC Unveils Flu Toolkit for Long-Term Care Providers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a long-term care toolkit with resources for senior living communities to provide access to flu vaccines for their workforce. It’s also designed to help employers in long-term care understand the importance of the flu vaccine for employees.
The toolkit was developed by the Health and Human Service Department’s National Vaccine Program Office and is available on the CDC website.
The new toolkit is part of a push by the CDC to encourage members of the long-term care community to get vaccinated. Long-term care staff are vaccinated at a much lower rate than other healthcare personnel in general, 63 percent versus 75.2 percent, according to CDC data for the 2013-14 flu season. Long-term care communities buck a trend of increases in vaccine coverage within all job settings during the past few flu seasons.
The government agency said vaccination rates among long-term care workers, including doctors, nurses, nursing assistants as well as clerical, dietary, housekeeping staff and volunteers “will help to reduce influenza-related illness and its potentially serious consequences” among healthcare personnel, their coworkers and patients.
The toolkit also includes community best practices, information on prevention and control of vaccine-preventable diseases in long-term care communities and summary guidance relating to flu prevention, outbreak and response for geriatricians and other clinicians caring for older adults.
The CDC recently issued an official health advisory due to the high frequency in the United States of the H3N2 virus, which in the past has led to higher overall hospitalization rates especially among older adults, very young children and people with certain chronic medical conditions.