Birmingham, Michigan (September 15, 2021) - Bloom Senior Living, a family-owned and operated provider of seniors housing for over 50-years, announced that it launched its annual health initiative consisting of a comprehensive Flu Prevention and Response Plan ("Flu Plan"), in conjunction with its ongoing Pandemic Rapid Response Plan addressing COVID-19, across its communities throughout Indiana, South Carolina and Louisiana in order to continue protecting its residents and associates from communicable diseases as we enter influenza season. Through these efforts, Bloom has significantly reduced infection, hospitalization and mortality rates during prior influenza seasons.
With the average Bloom resident over 80 years old and part of a population that is susceptible to infection and hospitalization, the health and wellness of Bloom residents is our main priority. Per the Center for Disease Control, 2020-2021 saw unusually low flu activity in the United States. Bloom saw the same. While we're hopeful the trend continues, Bloom remains prepared if the 2021-2022 season has increased influenza activity reminiscent of 2017-2019. If you recall, Bloom responded -- during that time -- by implementing a new aggressive Flu Plan in 2017, in coordination with its Nursing and Education Teams, designed to provide protection and prevent as many infections as possible for residents and associates; re-trained Bloom associates on effective means of infection prevention; provided education to associates, residents and visitors around their role in preventing an outbreak; provided guidance on how to contain an outbreak efficiently to prevent further infections from occurring; and measured Bloom's results and success. In other words, as with other Bloom clinical programs, its approach was multi-pronged and focused upon: (1) prevention, (2) education, (3) tracking and (4) monitoring. The Flu Plan has been effective, incorporated into Bloom's policies and procedures and become an annual initiative every Fall.
Similar to 2020-2021, this year's influenza season presents other challenges since it falls on top of COVID-19 and its variants. It's conceivable that with more emphasis on precautions, social distancing, infection control, testing, use of personal protective equipment and masks, awareness of hand hygiene and staying home when sick, or perhaps COVID pushing out the flu (similar to prior years where a new flu virus dominated prior viruses), this year's influenza will, again, not be significant. That said, should the 2021-2022 influenza and respiratory virus season carry a heavy burden, the concern is that this will amplify the risks we're already facing with COVID-19 and the variants. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu, this Fall and Winter is more important than ever. Bloom stands ready and prepared again this year.
As part of the prevention portion of our Flu Plan, Bloom residents will be requested to obtain flu vaccinations at onsite Bloom clinics (at each community) during October 2021 at no cost to them. Based upon experience, we believe a vast majority of Bloom residents will pursue vaccinations. Additionally, Bloom will offer associates flu vaccinations at no cost to them if they do not have insurance. As part of the flu clinics, Bloom will also be offering COVID-19 booster vaccinations at the same time or shortly thereafter.
As part of the education portion of our Flu Plan, Bloom associates will be required to attend newly developed in-service trainings during October 2021, which will further highlight the importance of receiving vaccinations and the similarities and differences between the flu and COVID-19. Bloom will also be communicating with residents, families and associates by e-mail, social media posts, virtual educational events and visible posters throughout the community regarding various informative guidelines, the components and benefits of the flu campaign, recent information for the 2021-2022 influenza season, the importance of flu vaccination, how to identify flu symptoms in the senior population, the necessity of hand washing for all associates and residents and other disinfecting products and protocols, details to prevent and manage the spread of infection / outbreaks, antiviral medical guidelines, and other related information. We'll also be running a campaign during National Influenza Vaccination Week observed from December 5 - 11, 2021.
TRACKING AND MONITORING
As part of the tracking and monitoring portions of our Flu Plan, Bloom will track residents and associates who have, and have not, been vaccinated. Bloom's Owner and Director of Operations, along with Bloom's Director of Education & Development, will monitor the occurrences of influenza and intervention.
Bloom is committed to acting with urgency in order to mitigate the effects of the flu and COVID-19, and keep our residents safe and happy in their Bloom homes..