Influenza, or flu, is a viral infection that mainly affects the respiratory system and can cause mild illness in most people. It can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups including older people, pregnant women and people with an underlying health condition.
In the UK the annual flu season runs from about October to March and most cases of flu occur between December and March. Studies have shown that vaccination can reduce the risk of flu related hospitalisation although, the effectiveness of the vaccine can vary year on year. The annual flu vaccination cycle runs mainly during October and November.
A lot of vulnerable adults spend considerable amount of time in hospital during the annual vaccination cycle and often miss their GP’s flu clinics. At present there is no provision to provide vaccination to patients admitted in hospitals.
In this report we look specifically at patients 65 years and over who were discharged from hospital during the annual vaccination period of October and November and got admitted on a later date with primary diagnosis of flu, 14 days after they were first discharged during that period. It usually takes 10 to 14 days for the flu vaccine to take effect. If there was a provision to vaccinate older people at time of discharge could it potentially reduce the number of admissions, improve hospital bed availability and most importantly could it potentially prevent deaths caused by flu?
How to use the report
The visuals in the ‘summary’ or front page of the report are meant to be read from left to right. The information displayed relates to patients who are 65 years and over who were discharged from hospital during the annual flu vaccination period of October to November, irrespective of the condition they were admitted for.
The bar chart on the left shows the number of patients discharged from hospital and were subsequently admitted 14 days after the discharge with a primary diagnosis of flu. For patients who have had more than one discharge during the annual flu vaccination period, only the first discharge is considered to avoid double counting the patient.
The chart in the middle shows number of admissions by month for patients admitted with a primary diagnosis of flu, 14 days after their earliest discharge during the annual flu vaccination period.
The funnel chart at the right shows the number of people that were discharged from hospital during the annual flu vaccination period who died, some with flu as cause of death.
On the right-hand side of the page there are two links which provide additional information related to this subject. The charts in the ‘Background information’ page displays the timeseries showing the growth in number of flu related deaths and hospitalisations which provides some context for this analysis. The tables and charts in the ‘Trust level information’ page of the report shows the same information broken down to Trust level. User can select a Trust and additionally see information for its top 10 peers as well.
Last edited: 24 May 2021 3:20 pm