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News Release

Health care facilities recognized for flu protection

May 07, 2014
The IOOF Seniors Home Inc. in Barrie is the first long-term care (LTC) facility in Simcoe Muskoka to achieve a 100 per cent staff influenza immunization rate since the annual Influenza Immunization Challenge began four years ago, a remarkable accomplishment in the continuing goal to protect residents, patients and staff from the spread of influenza.

­­­SIMCOE MUSKOKA – The IOOF Seniors Home Inc. in Barrie is the first long-term care (LTC) facility in Simcoe Muskoka to achieve a 100 per cent staff influenza immunization rate since the annual Influenza Immunization Challenge began four years ago, a remarkable accomplishment in the continuing goal to protect residents, patients and staff from the spread of influenza.

The Simcoe Muskoka Influenza Immunization Challenge recognition event, a collaboration between the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and the North Simcoe Muskoka Infection Control Network that was held Wednesday, May 7 in Orillia, saw 26 long-term care facilities and a local hospital recognized for achieving bronze, silver or gold-level standards for staff immunizations against influenza. The IOOF Long-Term Care Seniors home, as well as eight other LTC facilities, received gold awards.

Influenza is a serious illness, particularly for vulnerable people being cared for in institutions such as ours,” said Doreen Saunders, CEO of IOOF Seniors Home. “The best way we can protect them, and ourselves, from influenza is with a flu shot, so we set the bar high.”

The standards are set for rates of staff immunizations ranging from 70 to more than 90 per cent. The Collingwood General and Marine Hospital received a silver award, while Georgian Bay General Hospital and Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre received honourable mentions for increasing influenza immunization rates by more than 10 per cent over last year.

The challenge aims to increase the number of health care workers receiving their annual flu immunization. Health care workers who are immunized against the flu help to reduce their own risk of illness and absenteeism as well as flu-related illnesses and deaths in those they care for. Now completing its fourth year, the challenge effort has resulted in an upward trend in volunteer influenza immunization rates in Simcoe and Muskoka, with median rates in local long-term care facilities and hospitals trending above provincial rates.

“The IOOF deserves to be applauded for reaching a 100 per cent staff influenza immunization rate in just four years. This really is an outstanding achievement,” said Dr. Colin Lee, Associate Medical Officer of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “All of our health care facilities merit recognition for continuing to improve staff immunization rates against influenza, which is great news all around because it indicates a strong commitment toward patient safety.”

Twenty nine long-term care facilities and all seven hospitals in Simcoe Muskoka participated in this year’s challenge. Influenza immunization of health care workers and staff in long-term care remains relatively high with a coverage rate of more than 80 per cent, and there has been a significant improvement in staff/volunteer coverage in hospitals in recent years.

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Sidebar

Local survey asks what prevents HCW from getting their flu shot

ORILLIA – As a paediatrician caring for patients who are among the most vulnerable to influenza, Dr. Gary Smith, Pediatrician at Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital, recently set out to discover why some health care workers (HCW) were not choosing to get their annual influenza immunization.

“Immunization is the most effective way to reduce the impact of influenza among HCWs and patients, yet our rates fall considerably below public health target of 90 per cent, even with a policy,” said Dr. Smith, who was a guest speaker at the Simcoe Muskoka Immunization Challenge recognition event, held Wednesday, May 7 in Orillia. “Given that influenza causes the highest number of deaths among vaccine preventable diseases, and that children are especially susceptible to the negative effects of the flu, I found it surprising that our immunization rates against the flu were not higher.” 

Dr. Smith surveyed staff in five areas of the hospital, collecting the information anonymously, with no identifying information except profession.  He presented his findings, “Influenza Immunization in a Community Hospital: What are the Barriers?” at the recognition event, which awards long-term care institutions and hospitals for improving staff influenza immunization rates.

Those who chose to be immunized against the flu said they did so to protect themselves, their family and their patients; had seen patients with influenza and didn’t want to get it themselves; and because they didn’t want to wear a mask (second-line protection) during outbreaks as per hospital policy.

There were a variety of reasons posed by those who chose not to be immunized against the flu, including that they weren’t worried about getting the flu; they objected to the process; and they had philosophical objections.

Influenza immunization in health care workers is important for patient safety.  Dr. Smith reminded those at the event that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization states that in the absence of contraindications, “refusal of health care workers, who have direct patient contact, to be immunized against influenza implies failure in their duty of care to patients”.

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List of award recipients for 2013-2014

Gold awards

Bob Rumball Home for the Deaf
Collingwood Nursing Home
Georgian Manor
Good Samaritan Nursing Home
Hillcrest Village
IOOF Senior Citizen Homes Inc.
Leacock Care Centre
Leisureworld Caregiving Centre Creedan Valley
Oak Terrace Long Term Care Residence

Silver awards

Bay Haven Nursing Home
Coleman Health Care Centre
Grove Park Home
Leisureworld Caregiving Centre– Spencer House
Mill Creek Care Centre
Roberta Place
Sara Vista Nursing Home
Simcoe Manor
Specialty Care Bradford Valley
Stayner Nursing Home
Sunset Manor 
Victoria Village Manor
Villa Care Centre
Collingwood General and Marine Hospital

Bronze awards

Fairvern Nursing Home
Leisureworld Caregiving Centre Barrie
The Pines Long Term Care Residence
Woods Park Care Centre
 

Honourable Mention

Georgian Bay General Hospital
Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre

Special Recognition Award for Highest Vaccination Rates

IOOF Senior Citizen Homes Inc. (among long-term care facilities)
Collingwood General and Marine Hospital (among acute care facilities)

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