Home Health Care Management and practice- A recent study published by the American Journal of Infection Control (APIC) has indicated that low influenza vaccination rates among nursing home employees has put patients at significant risk for death or other influenza-related complications.
According to the report, influenza is associated with as many as 7,300 deaths each year in nursing home residents. However, the vaccination rate for employees hovers only around 54 percent.
Researchers from the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and Florida Health Care Association, they surveyed 1,965 nursing home employees to better understand the rates of influenza vaccination. 37 nursing homes in Florida, Georgia, and Wisconsin were polled for the data.
The report also sought to understand employees’ beliefs regarding vaccination and influenza.
“We asked respondents about receipt of vaccination during the most recent influenza season. We classified respondents as having been vaccinated if they responded affirmatively to the following question: “Did you receive the seasonal influenza vaccine during the [2010-2011/2011-2012] influenza vaccination season?” We also asked respondents about their demographic characteristics, job title and tenure, and beliefs about influenza and the influenza vaccine. Respondents were asked whether they believe that the influenza vaccine causes illness, whether it is effective in preventing influenza, whether staff members are at risk for influenza, whether staff members can spread influenza to residents, and whether residents are at risk for influenza. Respondents were also asked: “How contagious is influenza?” Responses for all questions were divided into “very” versus “somewhat” or “minimally” categories.”
"Many employees hold inaccurate beliefs about influenza and vaccination," the researchers state. Survey respondents who perceived the vaccination to be effective were 28 percentage points more likely to receive the influenza vaccination. Additionally, nearly 40 percent of those surveyed incorrectly believed that the vaccine caused influenza. Respondents who believed the vaccine did not cause influenza were 12 percentage points more likely to get the vaccination."
"Vaccination rates would be higher if staff held accurate beliefs about vaccination and influenza," the researchers conclude.
APIC support mandatory vaccination programs for nursing home and home health employees, which have been proven as an effective strategy for combating influenza outbreaks within care facilities.
Full report here: http://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(14)01143-2/fulltext