Birmingham, Michigan (September 16, 2020) - Bloom Senior Living, a family-owned and operated provider of seniors housing throughout the country for over 50-years, announced today 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 Florida, Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina and Louisiana in a pro-active effort to continue protecting its residents and associates from the impact and outbreak of communicable diseases as we enter the influenza season. Through these efforts, Bloom has significantly reduced infection, hospitalization and mortality rates during prior influenza seasons.
Inspired after the principals experienced the challenge of finding the right home for their grandmother when she began suffering from Alzheimer's, Bloom offers a modern, lifestyle approach to healthcare that centers around an aspirational mission: to help its residents bloom and live longer better.
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 our residents, as part of Bloom's overall mission, is a main priority. Over the last few years, the Center for Disease Control notified the public about increased influenza activity and forecasted epidemic level flu seasons. The flu turned out to be virulent and resulted - for those infected - in unusually high hospitalization and mortality rates, especially for adults age 65 years and above. In response, Bloom implemented 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, our 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.
This year presents other challenges with the flu season falling on top of COVID. Reports reflect that the Southern Hemisphere is seeing low influenza activity for this time of year, which will hopefully bode well for the Northern Hemisphere. It's conceivable that with more emphasis on precautions, social distancing, infection control, testing, less personal visits, use of personal protective equipments 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 not be as significant. That said, should the 2020 / 2021 influenza and respiratory virus season carry a heavy burden, the concern is that this will amplify the challenges we're already facing with COVID-19. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu, this Fall and Winter is more important than ever. Bloom is ready and prepared.
As part of the prevention portion of our Flu Plan, Bloom residents will be requested to obtain vaccinations at onsite Bloom clinics (at each community) during October 2020 at no cost to them. Based upon our experience, we believe a vast majority of Bloom residents will pursue vaccinations. Additionally, Bloom will offer all associates vaccinations at no cost to them if they do not have insurance. Bloom will document this.
As part of the education portion of our Flu Plan, Bloom associates will be required to attend in-service trainings during October 2020, which will further highlight the importance of receiving vaccinations. 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 2020-2021 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 6 - 12, 2020.
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.