Jun 09, 2020

Have You Had It? Keeping Track Of Flu Vaccinations In Aged Care

 

Aged care providers in Australia have done an outstanding job of preventing the spread of the coronavirus thus far, with many taking it upon themselves to tighten infection control protocols and mitigate risk by limiting visitors.

Yet despite all their hard work combating this pandemic, the threat of an upcoming flu season looms as yet another monumental challenge for aged care providers whose resources are already stretched beyond belief.

On any given day, a vast array of family visitors and contractors can enter an aged care facility, and new legislation that came into effect on 1 May 2020 requires anyone entering an aged care facility to provide appropriate evidence of flu vaccination.

The importance of vaccination as a means of infection control has placed a greater level of scrutiny on the record-keeping processes that providers are using to document information and outdated paper-based methods of record-keeping are an ongoing risk to safety that many aged care providers are still yet to address.

Having worked as both a care worker and aged care administrator, Paula Johnson has a detailed understanding of the inefficient nature of paper-based record keeping, and the risks that it can pose to the quality of care being delivered.

Now, as the co-founder of the workforce management software company, Rapid Global, Paula has used her experience to develop a suite of programs that safeguard and streamline the handling of important information in aged care.

“Generally speaking, providers do a great job of managing risk inside their own homes, but the variables presented by those visiting sites have always been an area of vulnerability,” said Ms Johnson.

“Given current circumstances, and the overall importance of infection control, staff should not have to scramble to access information that is vital to the wellbeing of their residents. Especially when there are affordable options that significantly improve that process.”

Although Rapid Global has a variety of software options available for aged care providers, the Rapid Access visitor management system has become the must-have tool for providers looking to streamline and safeguard the sign-in process.

This software has multiple sign-in options ranging from the scanning of QR codes and swiping of ID cards through to touch-screen terminals which can be viewed on any web-enabled device.

Rapid Access allows staff members to record the verification of flu vaccination evidence in a variety of ways, including taking a photo of documents and storing that as a part of their digital records.

You can also use this software to obtain evidence of flu vaccination from contractors and employees before they set foot on-site, and any visitors who are non-compliant are automatically denied entry in the home.

Hello Care Banner Flu Certificates

“At the moment, some providers are handing out stickers which signify that evidence of a visitor’s flu vaccination has been sighted, while other homes are using things like laminated cards,” said Ms Johnson.

“I understand that this industry has been slow to embrace new technology, but digitised record-keeping is far from new. It’s actually commonplace in every other industry and it’s one of a number of things that should be a non-negotiable for aged care homes.”

“With Rapid Access, everything gets recorded and is visible in real-time, so there are no hold-ups for anyone, and more importantly, this information is detailed and easily accessible online for anybody with the authority to do so.”

“Having all of this information stored in a centralised location allows for providers to be better prepared for government audits and also gives them the ability to conduct credible self-assessments.”

Rapid Access also comes with a number of features that allow aged care providers to gain control in emergency situations.

In the event of an outbreak of infection, detailed reports that feature the exact times that visitors have entered and exited a facility become a valuable asset for providers looking to stop the spread of infection through contact tracing.

While in the event of an evacuation, this software can also send evacuation messaging to everyone who is currently signed in on-site and report them as ‘safe’ when they have reached the muster point for emergencies.

“As someone who has cared for elderly people, I can tell you that being well informed is the key to preventing problems before they happen,” said Ms Johnson.

“People entering aged care homes have an obligation to ensure that they pose no risk to the health and wellbeing of residents, and providers are duty-bound to ensure that these obligations have been met.”

“Managing risk in an aged care home is hard enough, providers owe it to themselves and their residents to have the right tools for the job.”

*This article was sponsored advertorial content*

Photo Credit – iStock – RapidEye

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  1. We have made the decision to have an ongoing requirement that ALL staff, visitors, contractors & service providers will have the annual flu vaccination (or a valid medical exemption) or they will not be permitted to enter the facility. There has been ONE complaint about this decision. Everyone else has been wholeheartedly supportive & have very willingly provided proof of vaccination (plus one exemption from a relative who has had a previous life threatening reaction to the vaccine) & the relative who complained has decided to go ahead & get the vaccine anyway.

    We will continue this practice going forward & this requirement will be written into future residency agreements so everyone is aware of it up front. Residents will of course still have the choice as part of Standard One, which is why it is so important that everyone else has the vaccination!

    1. I work in Aged Care and I have found that most residents opt for the fluvax anyway, in our facility of 123 residents there would possibly be about 3-4 who have not had it. Forcing healthy working people to have the fluvax doesn’t make sense, what happened to my body, my choice? You give the resident’s the choice why do you treat your staff differently?

    2. Adults should not feel bullied or coerced into any medical procedure including a vaccination.

      A person should not be denied access to a loved one, or denied entry into a building for that matter, because they haven’t had an injection that someone else has dictated compulsory.

      There are less heavy handed, less medically invasive requirements family members could adhere to such as the wearing of face masks, hand sanitising on premises, the wearing of gloves…

      Medical choices should be left to the individual.

      We are living in a democracy where the rights of individuals and the value of liberty is supposed to be held dear.

  2. It is an absolute ridiculous rule. Having flu vaccine protects no one let alone our elderly. It is more important to make sure that visitors are well when visiting Aged Care premises. It is criminal that our government can stop people seeing their elderly family members because they cannot or do not want the flu vaccine for any reason.

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