From left to right, Janice Takata-Shewchuck, Director of Pharmacy; Jannet Hseih, Pharmacist; Krystal Lawley, Nurse Educator; Linda Shi, Infection Prevention and Control Practitioner; James Wong, Program Lead, Infection Prevention and Control; and (not pictured) Katie Reid, Manager, Professional Practice Nursing are the committee that leads an initiative to provide the flu shot to patients on all units at Bridgepoint.

Each year, a committee at Bridgepoint leads an initiative to ensure all inpatients are offered the flu shot. Here’s how they make it happen.

The need
Influenza is responsible for more deaths in Canada each year than any other infectious disease. Flu season is coming and with it brings serious risks to the health and safety of our patients. People over the age of 65 and especially those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart or lung disease and asthma are at the greatest risk of serious complications and death from influenza. In hospital environments, the influenza virus can spread easily among patients and health care providers, leading to outbreaks.

At Bridgepoint, where many of our 400 patients have complex health needs and are in the hospital for weeks, or longer, it’s a challenge to ensure all patients have the opportunity to get the flu shot before flu season starts. But it’s essential for the health and safety of patients who may be in the hospital throughout flu season.

The team

Addressing this challenge takes an interprofessional approach with support from employees across all units of the hospital. A committee consisting of infection prevention and control, nursing and pharmacy leads the initiative, working with unit clerks, nurses and physicians on all units to ensure patients are protected against influenza.

The solution

Beginning in August, the committee reviews and revises the patient influenza vaccination program. Once finalized, over the course of a two-week blitz in October, the committee reaches out to all employees involved in getting our patients protected. Each patient is offered the flu shot and asked to give consent to antiviral medication in the event of an outbreak.

The result

In October, more than 200 inpatients have received the flu shot at Bridgepoint. After this initial two-week push, each time a new patient is admitted to the hospital, the process put in place will ensure that each new patient is offered the flu shot and asked for consent for antiviral medication.  Once completed, this form stays in the chart and is easily accessible in the event it is required.

While this process has been in use for a few years at Bridgepoint, each year the committee works to refine or make improvements to help the care teams on the units work together to keep our hospital safe during flu season.

At Mount Sinai, where the length of stay is much shorter, patient vaccinations are led by the attending physicians.

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