Nurses back measures to safeguard elderly against flu
All health workers who come into contact with nursing home residents, visitors and the residents themselves should be encouraged to be vaccinated against the flu.
The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) supports a federal Government push to boost flu vaccination rates amongst aged-care workers, but says this should be extended to anyone in contact with nursing home residents.
There has been a record 105,000 cases of confirmed flu nationally this winter, and at least 14 nursing home deaths in Victoria and Tasmania.
“Influenza is a serious health issue, especially for vulnerable people within our community such as elderly residents in aged-care settings,” said Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN, Australian College of Nursing chief executive officer. “ACN welcomes any measure by the federal government that is going to help boost the vaccination rates of aged-care workers.
“Additionally, ACN believes that immunisation should be promoted and encouraged for residents of aged-care facilities as well as visitors, as a further safeguard measure.
“Furthermore, ACN holds the strong view that there needs to be at least one registered nurse (RN) on duty during every single shift in aged-care facilities.
“Ensuring that an RN is on duty for every shift could help with recognising the early signs and symptoms of flu in residents and enable the aged-care setting to be able to act swiftly and appropriately. Additionally, RNs working within aged-care settings are well-placed and skilled to be able to administer immunisation,” Adjunct Professor Ward added.
Under the National Immunisation Program, people aged 65 years and over are eligible for a free flu vaccination.
ACN offers an Immunisation for Registered Nurses and Midwives course, designed for registered nurses working in health areas where administration of immunisation is part of their role, as well as for registered nurses wanting to enhance their career opportunities. For more information, go to https://www.acn.edu.au/immunisation-registered-nurses-and-midwives.
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Health workers, visitors and aged-care residents should be vaccinated against the flu.