Accommodating Spikes in Requests for Flu Tests & Vaccines in Seniors

senior getting a flu shot

For adults 65 years and older, the risk of developing serious complications from the flu is high—potentially leading to advanced respiratory illness. This statistic alone often leaves senior living community staff and geriatric healthcare providers swamped with requests for tests and vaccines for their elderly residents and patients, particularly around flu season. This 2020-2021 flu season, however, the demand for flu tests is estimated to be double that of previous years. This statistic is backed by the CDC, as manufacturers have projected that they will provide as many as 194-198 million doses of the flu vaccine this year, which is more than the 175 million dose record set during the 2019-2020 flu season. Why? The demand for flu vaccinations is predicted to increase in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. 

Now more than ever, ensuring immunization services are maintained and available in senior living communities is essential for reducing the burden of respiratory illnesses in high-risk seniors during COVID-19. With the upcoming influenza season right around the corner, many senior living communities are feeling the pressure and stress to not only accommodate the foreseeable spike in requests for flu tests and vaccines in their elderly residents, but also find a way to provide vaccinations without increasing the risk of COVID-19 exposure in residents and staff. In this article, we’ll briefly discuss the benefits of patients receiving the flu vaccination this year and how a partnership with DispatchHealth can help senior living communities better manage and protect residents and staff from in-person risks and exposure to COVID-19 while seeking a flu vaccination.

Why Is the Flu Vaccine Beneficial Right Now?

COVID-19 and the flu share many symptoms and are equally dangerous for high-risk demographics, as they can lead to serious respiratory complications if left unchecked. Routine vaccinations are an essential preventive care service for people at any age, and one that should not be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As flu season fast approaches and the demand for tests and vaccines increases, it’s even more important that these preventive measures are taken to protect those at higher risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19, such as seniors, immunocompromised individuals, and people with underlying health conditions. Any preventive measure that can better one’s chances of avoiding a respiratory illness in light of the pandemic is also a chance to avoid serious coronavirus-related complications. If you are a senior living community leader who is concerned about how to best offer the necessary vaccines and healthcare preventatives to elderly residents without exposing them or your staff to COVID-19, start thinking about ways to bring the service onsite and how to minimize in-person contact.

The Importance of Minimizing In-Person Risk & Exposure

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of regulating immunization services in preparation for flu season cannot be stressed enough. Over the past few months, stay-at-home orders and social isolation have become nationwide movements in an attempt to flatten the curve and limit exposure to COVID-19. Minimizing in-person risk and exposure, however, should not discount the use of routine preventive medical care, including immunization services.

With the flu season lingering around the corner, the demand for senior living communities to accommodate spikes in requests for flu tests and vaccines in seniors is about to skyrocket as high-risk seniors continue to avoid heightened risks for COVID-19. Here’s how senior living communities can take precautions while accommodating these spikes:

  • Take all possible preventive measures to minimize in-person risk and exposure to COVID-19 while distributing vaccinations. This includes providing staff and residents with protective equipment as well as establishing disinfecting protocols before, during, and after flu vaccinations are distributed.
  • Partner with DispatchHealth. We specialize in offering streamlined in-home medical care for high-risk individuals with minor to complex illnesses and injuries, helping you juggle the task of providing residents with the care that they need without increasing exposure to COVID-19. 

How DispatchHealth can Help 

As staff and healthcare providers at senior living communities try to cater to the needs of their eldery residents while keeping them protected from exposure to COVID-19 and the negative effects of social isolation, community management has become a marathon. Now, with flu season around the corner, the stress for senior living communities is even greater. Fortunately, DispatchHealth has the on-demand services that your staff can count on this flu season. 

The stress and fear of addressing the current healthcare situation in your community is undoubtedly weighing heavily on your shoulders. But we are all in this together! DispatchHealth is here to offer the in-house medical care your residents need. Requesting care is as easy as contacting us via phone, mobile app, or through our website. Our dependable medical teams will arrive within a few hours of contact, prepared with most of the equipment and technologies found at an ER. Our medical teams are ready to be dispatched to your community to administer rapid flu tests, diagnose the patient, and if necessary, provide IV fluids and prescribe medication. During the COVID-19 crisis, we have also gone the extra mile to ensure the safety of both our staff and patients—implementing disinfecting protocols before, during, and after each visit and providing our medical staff with protective equipment. What’s more, we always prioritize continuity of care and are also able to test for COVID-19 as well as treat and support COVID-19 patients.

Find out how a partnership with DispatchHealth can help you better accommodate your elderly residents this 2020-2021 flu season by contacting us today. Or click here to learn more about how DispatchHealth is responding to COVID-19.

Sources

DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies. 

Sources referenced in this article: 

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/symptoms.htm 
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2020-2021.htm
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pandemic-guidance/index.html
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/index.html

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