Nursing home takes flu precautions - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Nursing home takes flu precautions

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- One of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to flu season is the elderly.

It can be especially challenging to prevent the spread of the virus in nursing homes, where people live in close quarters.

"We have had a few residents that have been sick and then of course there's a couple on each hallway, and that's when we really get nervous," said Lori Lawrence, director of nursing at Hillview Health Care Center. "We do a lot of teaching and re-teaching, reminding to wash hands."

Hillview is home to about 190 residents, 98 percent of whom received flu shots. And while they've avoided influenza this season, a handful of residents have suffered from norovirus or upper respiratory illnesses, causing Hillview staff to take extra precautions.

"We've had, for about the last 10 days, we've had the dining room closed and group activities closed," Lawrence said. "We did have one side of our building that had a handful of cases and we did not want it to spread, so we immediately took measures to contain it."

Lawrence says it's better to be safe than sorry, but closing the dining room, the social center of Hillview, is tough on residents.

"Some of them have plans that they do exercise, everyday at 9:45 and they don't' like that they're kind of, confined."

"Main dining room, its music, it's bingo, its everything fun is down in the dining room," said Nicki Weissenberger, the infection control nurse at Hillview.

And the precautions extend to staff members feeling under the weather.

"If they call in with certain symptoms, they need to stay off for 48 hours after their last symptoms," Lawrence said. "We do have our infection control nurse will call them back and say, 'what are your symptoms,' and they will decide when they can come back."

The facility is also asking that the public limit visits to the facility, but hopes to ease restrictions in the next few days, provided no other residents fall ill.

All the residents who are sick, are expected to make full recoveries.

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