Preparing for flu season in a long-term care home is essential to protect your loved ones and other residents from viruses and their potential health complications. Follow along as we share 5 proactive strategies to help you prepare.

Consider Getting Vaccines

The most effective way to prevent getting the flu is by getting an annual flu vaccination. It is encouraged that residents and staff members of a long-term care home consider getting vaccinated before the flu season starts. In many long-term care facilities, there may be on-site vaccination clinics to make it convenient for residents, they are also accessible at many local pharmacies and clinics as well. 

Practice Good Hygiene

Practicing good hygiene is crucial all year round; however, during flu season it is even more important that hands are being washed frequently and properly. To get an effective clean, ensure you are washing both sides of your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When you do not have access to soap and water to wash your hands, consider carrying a pocket-sized hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content in it. This is a great substitute for sanitizing your hands after touching common surfaces.

Regular Cleaning and Disinfection

It is important to maintain a strict cleaning and disinfection routing for frequently touched surfaces in your home or anywhere your loved one spends a lot of time at. At Shaughnessy Seniors Community, we ensure that our frequently touched surfaces and common areas are deeply sanitized daily. Some examples of high-touch surfaces are doorknobs, handrails, chairs, and eating spaces. To reduce the risk of surface transmission, it is vital that these surfaces are deeply cleaned daily.

Visitor Policies & Isolation Protocols

During flu outbreaks it is important that friends and family are conscientious about the potential of infecting residents. If you are planning on visiting a loved one in a long-term care home, even if you have minor flu-like symptoms, it is strongly advised that you choose not to come until you are completely symptom free. Even for those who are symptom free it is also a good idea to consider wearing a surgical mask during visit to the long-term care facility to reduce the risk of spreading any other germs or viruses during the fall flu season.

A great way to still visit loved ones without the risk of infecting anyone is to facilitate a virtual visit. Choose to use a platform such as Zoom, Facetime, or Skype to call your loved one on an electronic device and chat with them for as long as you want, and as often as you want during the flu season.

Good Nutrition and Hydration

Ensuring your loved ones maintain a healthy diet and stay adequately hydrated is important all year round; however, during the flu season it is much more important that daily vitamins and minerals are being absorbed by the body to help prevent any unwanted illnesses. Having a nutritious diet and staying hydrated helps support a strong immune system, which can better fight off the flu should your loved one still become infected by it.

Preparing for the flu season in a long-term care home requires an extensive approach that encompasses vaccinations, practicing good hygiene, promoting regular cleaning and disinfection, ensuring visitors are healthy, and making sure your loved one maintains good nutrition and hydration. By implementing these strategies, you can help create a safer environment for your loved ones and all of the other residents in their long-term care home. 
If you’re looking for a long-term care home in the Lower Mainland, Shaughnessy Seniors Community offers personalized and high-quality nursing care to support your parent or loved one. Located in Port Coquitlam, our boutique-style residence is warm, inviting, and can provide the resources required to keep your loved one comfortable and happy despite age-related health problems. If you’d like to learn more about our facilities and care plans, you can always visit our website or reach out to a member of our team and we’d be happy to help.