Safety Counts! a newsletter highlighting safety at Hallmark Health System

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Safety Counts Nov-Dec 2014 - Download entire PDF by clicking here. 

Vol 2, No. 10, Nov-Dec 2014
DecSafetyCounts2014 Page 1

Preparing for the 2014-15 flu season

More than 2,000 Hallmark Health System (HHS) employees and staff received flu shots during November and December. The majority were administered at day-long clinics at the HHSFlu hospitals plus separate clinics at nonhospital sites. Night supervisors helped with immunization of off-shift staff. At the Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, the vacination rate was 94 percent.

“The first doses of our allotment go to inpatients and outpatients, who are at much higher risk of getting the flu,” said Elaine Boerger, RN, infection control nurse. “Next are employees who are at higher risk, such as those who work in the ED and on the inpatient floors plus those who have chronic illnesses.”

For several years, HHS has had a mandatory flu vaccine policy: all employees, contract employees, physicians, students, volunteers or others who work at an HHS site or provide an HHS service are required to get a flu vaccine. Those who cannot comply (e.g., for medical or religious reasons) are required to wear a mask at work if they come into contact with others.

In November, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued proposed regulations that are very similar to the HHS policy, including the wearing of masks by those
who decline immunization. The new regs would apply to hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities.

Flu season has already begun at HHS. “We’ve had our second flu admission, and it’s beginning to show up in the ED now with a number of cases,” said Boerger.
Staff vaccination is extremely important to patient safety for two reasons, said Boerger. “First, when someone gets the flu, that person is contagious before he or she gets sick. Staff could come to work and not know they have the flu. And second, if many staff are out sick during peak flu season, our workforce is diminished. So getting
vaccinated makes all of us better able to take care of patients.”.

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