Mandatory influenza vaccination of staff in long term care and assisted living facilities
Kearns, Heidi King
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Influenza vaccination rates of healthcare personnel in long-term care facilities continue to lag behind rates in other healthcare facilities. Long-term care facility residents are at particularly high risk of influenza-related complications and death, and the low vaccination rates of workers in this setting puts residents at even greater risk. Mandatory influenza vaccination policies have been shown to be the most effective means of increasing healthcare personnel influenza vaccination rates. Despite this, long-term care facility staff are the least likely to report working in an environment that requires them to receive influenza vaccination on an annual basis. The purpose of this project was to explore the current policies in place at long-term care and assisted living facilities within Flathead County, Montana, with the hope of continuing to bring awareness to effective means of increasing influenza vaccination rates. This project's secondary goals were to continue cultivating a relationship between the local health department and the facilities and work toward creating sustainability in the annual collection of this data. The results of the surveys conducted showed that facilities with the strongest policy components achieved the highest vaccination rates. Continued support is necessary to assist facilities in strengthening their policies in order to achieve the desired healthcare personnel influenza vaccination rates.