Strengthening the frontline against influenza in residential aged care: how targeting employee response to an influenza vaccination program can positively influence vaccination uptake rates

Ms Luci Rodda1

1Aegis Aged Care, Burswood, Australia

Background:

Good uptake of influenza vaccinations by employees contributes to reducing the impact of influenza in residential aged care residents.  Evaluation of Aegis Aged Care’s influenza vaccination programs for 2016/2017 found of the employees who did not have the vaccination, 40.94% did not respond in either consent or declination, or provide reason for non-vaccination. 9.7% of non-vaccinated employees indicated difficulty in accessing an influenza vaccination clinic as an issue to uptake.

Actions:

Improvement strategies to increase employee response for the 2018 influenza vaccination program:

-Consent/declination introduced as a required response

-Medical certificate evidence required for declinations, to demonstrate appropriately informed decision-making

-Selected registered nurses across the organisation were trained to deliver in-facility clinics and peer-to-peer vaccine education

-“Top-down” communication about the influenza vaccination program expectations, reinforcing the Organisation’s safety and quality care culture

Results:

100% return rate of consent/declination forms achieved.  40.31% of declinations provided addressable reasons for declination – 17.86% employee-centric (“I never get the flu”), and 22.45% vaccine-centric (“it is not effective”). 27.6% increased engagement of employees attending in-facility clinics. And a remarkable increase in uptake rate observed in 2018 to previous years (2016 – 57.9%, 2017 – 67.14%, and 2018 – 94.5%).

Conclusion:

Engagement through requiring consent/declination response, and an organisational culture focused on safety from the executive-level down, can have a positive impact to uptake rates.  Applying continuous improvement processes through annual evaluation and change activities demonstrates responsiveness to workforce needs.  Further opportunity for improvement continues to be identified, such as focusing on addressable declination responses.

 


Biography:

Luci is a Registered Nurse who has worked in the aged care industry for over ten years, across different departments including management, complaints and compliance with the Department of Health, and she currently works in a clinical governance position.  Luci has completed a Master of Nursing Science (Gerontological Nursing) and Graduate Certificate in Infection Prevention and Control.  She currently holds the portfolio for Infection Prevention and Control for the Organisation, which focuses on implementing IPC programs and improving resident healthcare outcomes associated with infection prevention and infection management.

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