Accredit nursing-home GPs to cut flu spread: expert
GPs could be required to gain special certification for nursing home visits under a proposal to cut institutional transmission of influenza.
Professor Robert Booy, director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, said tightening nursing home accreditation with new influenza control measures including GP certificates was one idea being considered to reduce transmission.
“As part of that plan, the standard of care could be raised through accrediting GPs, which might be as simple as them doing online education,” Professor Booy said.
The GP would then oversee influenza vaccination of residents and nursing staff.
Professor Booy said some nursing homes were serviced by up to 50 different GPs, making the risk of influenza transmission unnecessarily high.
Meanwhile, a National Institute of Clinical Studies survey found that the proportion of healthcare workers vaccinated against influenza varied from 20% to 50 per cent. Variations were apparent even among wards in a single institution.
The survey found that healthcare workers held the same misconceptions about vaccination as the general community.
“Some have a fear of needles, some believe they can get influenza from the vaccine and some think the vaccine just doesn’t work,” said the institute’s executive director, Dr Jan Davies (PhD).
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