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Commentary on: Gozalo PL, Pop-Vicas A, Feng Z, et al. Effect of influenza on functional decline. J Am Geriatr Soc 2012;60:1260–7.
Implications for practice and research
Prevention of exposure to influenza among long-stay nursing home residents has the potential to prevent significant morbidity, including functional decline.
Nursing home quality measures may need to be adjusted seasonally or for regional influenza severity.
Future research is needed to confirm these associations on an individual level and to determine if preventive measures, such as resident and staff vaccination and hand hygiene, can prevent functional decline and other adverse outcomes.
In the USA, 90% of the estimated 24 000 influenza-related deaths each year occur in older adults,1 and rates (per 100 000 person-years) of hospitalisation for influenza and its complications increase steadily with age, from 111 among those 50–64 years to 1669 among those …