Forest Hill takes first place in flu-shot challenge for 2nd straight year

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Education key to getting 99% of staff vaccinated

For the second straight year, Forest Hill has achieved the highest rate of flu vaccinations among staff members in OMNI Health Care’s 18 homes.

Director of care John Donzil says staff education was the key factor that helped the home vaccinate 99 per cent of the approximately 180 Forest Hill staff members during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 flu seasons.

Donzil says Forest Hill began a drive to increase flu vaccination numbers in 2014-15, using staff education as the principal tool for bringing vaccination numbers up.

The home brought in representatives from drug companies to provide staff in-services about the vaccines and why they are the best defence against infection. Managers also created assignments focused on influenza and vaccinations for staff using Surge Learning, an online educational resource available to all OMNI staff members.

Management discovered that one barrier to staff members receiving vaccinations was lack of accessibility.

For instance, they found staff members were hesitant to go to a clinic after work to get vaccinated. So, the home offered vaccinations delivered by a nurse who was available on all three shifts to administer flu shots.

The nurse was also set up with a cart with all the supplies to visit staff at their posts. People were more willing to get vaccinated if they didn’t have to go looking for someone to administer the shot, Donzil says.

Some staff members also prefer to get vaccinated off-site. These individuals could go to a clinic, receive their flu shot and photograph their vaccination certification on a smartphone as proof.

As a prize for taking top honours in OMNI’s flu-shot challenge, staff members who were vaccinated received a $5 gift card from Tim Hortons.

High vaccination rates have been achieving their intended goal during the past two years, Donzil says.

“We noticed (last year and this year) that staff members were not calling in sick as much as they had in previous years; and some of the staff who called in sick had not had the vaccination,” Donzil says.

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