Saturday, October 27, 2007

The flu, "a patient safety issue"

A few days ago Dr. Richard Daines, the New York State Commissioner of Health, sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to health care providers across the state.

In it he emphasized the importance of flu shots for health care workers, saying it is "a patient safety issue":
Unvaccinated HCP (health care personnel) have been implicated in the spread of influenza and outbreaks in every type of health care setting. In fact, the failure to adequately immunize HCP is a patient safety issue in all health care facilities, including home care and ambulatory care settings. Low vaccination rates among HCP are associated with an increased number of outbreaks, poor patient outcomes, and increased employee absenteeism. Despite this, HCP vaccination rates remain low.
I recently wrote about the flu vaccination clinic for employees.

In addition to the clinic, Sue Chamberlain, Infection Control Program Director, will bring the vaccination cart to work sites throughout CGH during the week of November 4 – this will make it even easier for employees to receive the vaccine.

CGH will also hold a flu clinic for employees’ family members on Saturday, November 17. This exercise will help test out hospital’s organization for the prompt dispensing of shots, as may be needed in an emergency situation.

There are many reasons to get the flu vaccine: to protect ourselves, to protect our families, and to protect our patients.

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