Vaccination has been the controversial topic of many news headlines lately. Despite research that has conclusively established that vaccines do not cause autism and that the decline in vaccinations due to this misconception has resulted in a of a number of diseases, there are those who contend that vaccines may be unsafe and whether or not to become vaccinated is a personal choice. The discussion has centered around mandatory childhood immunizations and largely failed to identify the importance of immunizations in adult populations, particularly those in long term care facilities or other community style senior housing.
Owners and operators of senior housing facilities, especially long term care facilities, can greatly reduce their liability risk and their residents’ health risks by developing and methodically implementing an immunization plan that includes provisions to ensure compliance with state laws, resident and employee education, accessibility to vaccines, and a detailed documentation process.
Know the Law, Follow the Law
Not only is immunization of residents a good practice, it is the law in some states. A number of states including Connecticut, North Carolina, Maryland, and Pennsylvania among a host of others, require that residents in long term care facilities are vaccinated for influenza and pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPV). Many other states require that the facility offer vaccination, even if it isn’t required of residents. Review your state’s laws here. Failure to follow the law creates a large and unnecessary liability risk.
Educate Residents and Employees
Many adults who are missing vaccines aren’t missing them because they oppose vaccines; they simply do not realize that they need vaccines. As recent CDC standards regarding the immunization of adult patients emphasize – education can make a difference.
It is not just residents who should be encouraged to get vaccines; employees should too, particularly when it comes to the influenza vaccine. Long term care workers’ vaccination rates have continually been low (59%) in comparison to other healthcare workers (72% overall).
Benefits of the Flu Vaccine
Increasing the percentage of residents and employees that receive a flu vaccine is a particularly worthwhile goal, as it is well-known that seniors are most at risk when it comes to the flu. Every year 226,000 are hospitalized and 36,000 die. Of the 36,000 deaths, approximately 30,000 are individuals 65 years of age or older. In addition to reducing flu-related hospitalizations and deaths of residents, fewer instances of the flu in the facility simply means happier, more satisfied residents.
Keep Your Finances Healthy
At Cambridge Realty Capital, we understand that owning and/or operating a senior housing facility is a hands-on job requiring knowledge and management of many different aspects of the operations. We strive to make it a little easier by providing effective financing solutions and a wealth of industry-specific finance knowledge so that you can focus on your core operations.