AMDA Releases Updated Recommendations on Annual Influenza Vaccination for Health Care Personnel
Flu season is fast approaching. The 2017-2018 season was especially brutal for older adults, especially nursing home residents. Post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) settings such as nursing homes are a particularly dangerous environment for flu outbreaks for a variety of reasons, including the close quarters, the complex medical conditions and weak immune systems of the residents, and the frequent contact with multiple caregivers.
AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine therefore is encouraging PALTC settings to strengthen their health care personnel (HCP) immunization programs. HCP are defined as anyone who is in direct or indirect contact with residents. The Society’s newly updated guidance on HCP influenza vaccinations includes the following recommendations:
- Mandatory annual flu vaccines for all PALTC HCP, unless there is a medical contraindication.
- Education for HCP on the efficacy and safety of flu vaccines.
- Masks for all employees who don’t receive a flu shot when in direct contact with residents during flu season. These employees should also receive targeted education to encourage compliance.
- PALTC facilities and corporations should make free flu vaccines available on-site to employees and volunteers.
“Since some 85% of seasonal flu-related deaths occur in people over 65 years of age, this truly is a critical issue for PALTC settings,” says Christopher E. Laxton, CAE, the Society’s executive director. “That’s why we’ve updated our guidance and are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to get the message out.”
Thanks to the Society’s collaborative work with the CDC, its Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) has created a specific honor roll to recognize all PALTC facilities that pledge to vaccinate their HCP. It is included on the Society’s new Flu Vaccination Resources for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Settings web page.
About the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine
AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine is the only medical specialty society representing the community of over 50,000 medical directors, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other practitioners working in the various post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) settings. Dedicated to defining and improving quality, we advance our mission through timely professional development, evidence-based clinical guidance, and tireless advocacy on behalf of members, patients, families, and staff. Visit www.paltc.org for more information.