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News Release

Health care facilities recognized for flu immunization

May 15, 2013
The number of health care workers in Simcoe and Muskoka who are opting to protect their health and that of their patients by being immunized against the flu continues to trend upward.

­­­ORILLIA – The number of health care workers in Simcoe and Muskoka who are opting to protect their health and that of their patients by being immunized against the flu continues to trend upward.

The third annual Simcoe Muskoka Influenza Immunization Challenge recognition event, held Wednesday May 15 at the Best Western Mariposa Inn in Orillia, saw 25 long-term care facilities and one local hospital recognized for achieving bronze, silver or gold-level standards for staff immunizations against influenza. The standards are set for rates of staff immunizations ranging from 70 to over 90 per cent. Two hospitals also received honourable mentions for increasing influenza immunization rates among staff by more than 10 per cent over last year.

The challenge aims to increase the number of health care workers receiving their annual flu shots. Health care workers who are vaccinated against the flu help to reduce their own risk of illness and absenteeism, as well as influenza-related illness and death in those they provide care for. This is especially important as many hospital patients and long-term care facility residents are at increased risk for severe illness and complications from influenza. 

“At Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare, we encourage everyone in the community and all of our health care providers, including our staff, physicians and volunteers, to get immunized against influenza,” says Natalie Bubela, Chief Executive Officer at MAHC. “The influenza vaccine not only helps safeguard each one of us, but also the safety and wellbeing of our families, our communities and the patients we serve. By getting the flu shot, we are taking precautions to stay healthy, minimize the risk of transmitting the flu and minimize health-related complications from the flu.”

Twenty-nine long -term care facilities and all seven hospitals in Simcoe Muskoka participated in this year’s challenge. Health care workers in long-term care continued the recent trend of improved rates over previous years, and a higher rate than the province. The rate for health care workers in hospitals also continued to improve over previous years, and for the first time this year is slightly above the provincial rate.

“To see our health care facilities continue to improve their immunization rates to ensure that they protect those populations that are particularly vulnerable to complications from influenza is very encouraging,” said Dr. Lisa Simon, Associate Medical Officer of Health with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “All of our participating facilities are to be congratulated for their commitment to lowering the health burden caused by influenza.”

Getting a flu shot every year gives everyone their best chance to avoid the flu virus as well as the  serious risk of illness that can occur,”  said Jill Tettmann, Chief Executive Officer of the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integrated Network. “Every Ontarian should be encouraged to protect themselves by getting the vaccine.”

Guest speaker Dr. Shelley Deeks, Medical Director, Immunization and Vaccine Preventable Diseases, Public Health Ontario, reminded those participating in the event that the influenza vaccine is part of a family of safe and effective vaccines that are estimated to save about 2.5 million lives around the world each year, including those of children.

“Despite this, every 20 seconds, a child dies from a vaccine-preventable condition,” said Deeks. “Some parents are hesitant about vaccines. We, as health care providers, need to listen to their concerns and address them with good information to support good decisions. We all need to ensure that we are doing our utmost to protect our kids and communities.”

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List of award recipients for 2012-2013 

Gold awards

  • Coleman Care Centre
  • Collingwood Nursing home
  • Good Samaritan Seniors Complex
  • Hillcrest Village Care Centre
  • IOOF Seniors Citizen Homes
  • Leacock Care Centre
  • Leisureworld Caregiving Centre - Creedan Valley
  • Revera Long Term Care/Oak Terrace
  • Roberta Place
  • Villa Care Centre Nursing Home

 Silver awards

  • Bob Rumball Home for the Deaf
  • Georgian Manor
  • Grove Park Home
  • Mill Creek Care Centre
  • Leisureworld Caregiving Centre - Muskoka
  • Sara Vista Long Term Care
  • Specialty Care Bradford Valley
  • Sunset Manor
  • The Pines Long Term Care Residence
  • Victoria Village Manor
  • Woods Park Care Centre

Bronze awards

  • Leisureworld Caregiving Centre - Barrie
  • Spencer House - Orillia
  • Simcoe Manor
  • Stayner Nursing Home
  • Collingwood General & Marine Hospital

Honourable Mention

  • Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare
  • Stevenson Memorial Hospital

Special Recognition Award for Highest Vaccination Rates

  • Collingwood General & Marine (among acute care facilities)
  • Leisureworld Caregiving Centre – Creedan Valley (among long-term care facilities)

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