Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Influenza Vaccinations (Flu Shots) for Nursing Home Residents and Everyone (Research, Video .31)

Fall is a time when the topic of influenza vaccines or flu shots becomes prevalent. Many communities make flu shots available for older adults. A large population believes the vaccine reduces the risk of dying in nursing homes. 
How well are nursing home residents improved by flu shots? Research reported in the Journals of Gerontology shows a lot depends on residents’ functional status. In a study done over several months with 711 nursing home residents, participants were divided into these categories: good functioning, intermediate functioning, and poor functioning. In terms of functionality, influenza vaccination was associated with reduced all-cause mortality in older nursing home residents with different functional statuses. Influenza vaccine efficacy in reducing mortality declined with increasingly impaired functional status.
What about the importance of flu shots for the rest of the population? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a US government agency focused on improving overall public health. This agency advises everyone to get a flu shot. For many, this is still a controversial issue.  Some say the shots are safe, convenient, and may save lives. Others say they are not safe for some people, do not guarantee people won’t get the flu, may have side effects, and may even cause people to get the flu (not true because viruses are dead). What do you think?

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers in America and other countries and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.

1 comment:

  1. It's good that flu vaccines are giving nursing home residents a sort of protection. Most of these residents already have existing health problems that limit their performance of ADLs, we wouldn't want them catching other sickness inside the facility specially those that can worsen their situation