Preparing for Influenza Season

As seen in the Consultant Connection December 2012 Issue
By; Irene Sours, RN, Nurse Consultant

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Survey, employee vaccination rates in long-term care facilities fell from 64% in the 2010-2011 flu seasons to 52% during the 2011-2012 flu seasons.

Raising vaccination coverage of health care providers working in Long Term Care Facilities is especially important given that LTCF residents are at increased risk for serious influenza complications and that staff vaccination might reduce the risk for death among LTCF residents To increase vaccination coverage for staff, facility should develop a comprehensive intervention strategy that includes education and promotion to encourage vaccination and easy access to vaccine. Educational programs should include emphasis on vaccination effectiveness and its safety, knowledge of influenza transmission, and the benefits of vaccination for staff and family members visiting residents. 

Tips of increasing influenza vaccine rate in your facility:
  • Educate staff, families, and volunteers of the benefits of receiving the influenza vaccine
  • Offer vaccine at no cost or reduced rate to all staff over a period of several days. 
  • Provide vaccine to newly hired employees during the influenza season.

Facilities that develop a comprehensive strategy of increasing employee vaccination rate will decrease transmission of influenza, decrease staff illness and absenteeism and influenza-related illness and death among residents at increased risk of severe influenza illness.

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