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REPORT: Program Produces High Flu-Vaccination Rates for LTC Workers

April 29, 2014

Fourteen long-term care (LTC) facilities in Pennsylvania have “significantly increased” their workers’ flu-vaccination rates, according to a report published by the federal Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHQR).

The facilities, primarily nursing homes and assisted living facilities, achieved the high vaccination rates through a newly developed program called Raising Immunizations Safely and Effectively (RISE), in which a regional pharmacy intervenes to assume control of facilities’ vaccination policies.

Through RISE, local pharmacies work with long-term care facilities to provide free, on-site vaccinations to health care workers.

The program also eliminates other barriers to vaccination, including forcing workers to sign consent forms listing every possible side effect of the vaccine, no matter how unlikely.

First implemented at the 14 Pennsylvania facilities in 2005, RISE produced immunization rates of 60 percent or more in each of the participating facilities by the 2010-11 flu season, the last year for which data is available.

Two-thirds of the facilities reported worker immunization rates of 80 percent or more, with several recording 90 percent or higher rates.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s Healthy People initiative aims to achieve flu-immunization rates of at least 90 percent for all health care workers by 2020.

For elders, the flu is a potentially deadly disease, the AHQR report says. Flu outbreaks can devastate long-term care facilities and their “vulnerable, elderly residents.”

— by Matthew Ozga

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