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Flu vaccination urged for LTC staff.

Experts in infection control, embodied by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), want long-term care providers to take a jab at their employees--that is, to encourage them to become vaccinated against influenza. Not only do unvaccinated workers put residents at risk, says APIC in an American Journal of Infection Control special article, they ultimately can exacerbate existing staff shortages, curtail admissions, and increase healthcare costs. To make its point, APIC cites a large flu outbreak in a New York nursing home in the early 1990s: 19% of residents caught the flu, 34 developed pneumonia, 19 were hospitalized, and 2 died, but only 10% of the facility's healthcare workers had been immunized. Only 36% of healthcare workers, in general, that have direct contact with patients are immunized annually, says APIC.

APIC recommends that facilities develop a written policy stressing the importance of flu vaccination among both medical and nonmedical employees. Vaccine clinics convenient for employees of all shifts are important, as is dispelling myths about vaccination, says APIC. The organization suggests that institutions assume all costs for employee vaccination, just as they do for other infection-control interventions, such as hand-hygiene products.

The full article, along with other recommendations, is available at www.apic.org/position%20statement1.pdf.
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Title Annotation:News Notes
Author:Edwards, Douglas J.
Publication:Nursing Homes
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Words:210
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