Care home residents and staff encouraged to become ‘Flu Fighters’

img94joktmu716049With flu season upon us once again, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin CCGs are working with Shropshire Partners in Care (SPIC) to encourage all eligible residents and staff in care homes to get their flu jab this winter.

The vaccinations, which are available free of charge to all front line health and social care employees and to people who are at risk, enable staff and residents to not only protect themselves from this year’s strain of the flu virus, but also their families, colleagues and neighbours.

As the weather gets colder and coughs, colds and flu start to circulate in the community, it’s important to keep ourselves healthy and well. This is particularly important for those living and working in care homes.

Care home residents are extremely vulnerable to flu due to a number of reasons.  Residents are often elderly and frail and can often have multiple underlying health conditions Care home staff infected with flu can spread it to colleagues and vulnerable residents – even when the staff member has few or no symptoms. Flu spreads rapidly due to the close contact between residents and staff, and outbreaks of flu are seen in care home settings each year.

Dr Julian Povey, Chair of Shropshire CCG said: “Across health services in the area, we have many sick and vulnerable people in our care, and it is our duty to protect them from flu.  That’s why both CCGs have been proactive with the ‘flu fighters’ campaign and we are determined to increase the number of people taking up the vaccination this year.

“We know that people in care homes are particularly vulnerable to seasonal flu during the winter months. That is why we are working with SPIC to ensure that staff and residents take up the opportunity to get themselves vaccinated.”

Dr Jo Leahy, Chair of Telford and Wrekin CCG added:                              

“We encourage all frontline staff and residents to have their flu vaccination. Not only is this a quick and simple procedure, with little or no side effects, but it can also save lives. The vaccination will not only protect staff this winter, but also their families, colleagues and residents.”

Nicky Jaques, Chief Officer for Shropshire Partners in Care (SPIC) said:

“If staff and eligible residents have the free flu jab it is a huge help towards us protecting the local community from a serious flu outbreak. Vulnerable people and the elderly are particularly at risk this time of year, so having the flu jab and keeping healthy in the run up to winter is a key thing staff can do to provide the best care for residents.

For more information visit www.nhs.uk/staywell