For this investigation, I will be using my place of employment which is the OpusCare of South Florida hospice. The population targeted in the PICOT question is the patients of this facility. It includes people who are elderly or very ill. The intervention consists of requiring mandatory influenza vaccinations for employees. A population group that is cared for by employees who are not vaccinated can be used as a comparison group. The outcome will be the morbidity of the influenza virus within the hospice patient population. The timeframe will focus on the peak flu season which begins in October and can last into early spring.
PICOT Statement: Will the hospice population cared for and interacting with staff, who have received a mandatory influenza vaccination in comparison to those who have not, benefit from a decreased morbidity of the virus during the annual peak flu season?
Although influenza is relatively common, it can cause severe complications and death. It is estimated that up to 710,000 people have been hospitalized and up to 56,000 died of influenza since 2010. It is recommended that the population should receive annual vaccinations for protection, mainly from the most dangerous strains of the virus such as H1N1. Vaccines are found to be generally effective. Vaccination reduces the risk of getting ill with influenza, which reduces hospitalization. It serves as a critical preventive tool for the population with chronic diseases (CDC, 2017).
It is recommended by the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee that any type of employee in a healthcare environment be vaccinated since the person can either expose or be exposed to the virus from the patients (CDC, 2016). This is especially critical for patients in a hospice environment who may have a wide range of health concerns and conditions as well as a weakened immune system. On a large scale of a workplace, an intervention consisting of mandatory vaccination may improve herd immunity and prevent the risk of exposure of a population extremely vulnerable to the influenza virus.
This investigation would not impact patient care since the intervention is aimed at employees. To verify the effects, patients would have to be cared for either by the intervention or control group. This may limit some activity as patients would have to avoid any contact with employees in the control group. The healthcare agency of OpusCare can support this investigation since staff vaccination programs are inherently beneficial to the workplace.
Not only is there a professional and ethical argument for vaccinations, but it also impacts service efficiency in healthcare settings. This occurs since the vaccine reduces transmission of the virus in a closed location which decreases patient infections as well as staff absenteeism and decreased productivity due to illness.
Requiring vaccinations from employees presents various challenges. In nursing practice, it is critical to realize the ethical responsibility that the job brings as well as attitudes and self-efficacy which construe social and professional norms. Vaccination is considered a complex behavior that can be mitigated through appropriate behavioral and psychological theories which would educate, increase perceptions of risks in comparison to benefits, and motivate the nursing staff towards action.
Through an introduction to appropriate education seminars or counseling for employees, there is an expected increase of at least 85% for the influenza vaccination uptake (Corace et al., 2016). Therefore, by emphasizing a re-examination of professional nursing practice, employees are more likely to participate in a workplace vaccination program.
CDC. (2016). Influenza vaccination information for health care workers. Web.
CDC. (2017). Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. Web.
Corace, K., Srigley, J., Hargadon, D., Yu, D., Macdonald, T., Fabrigar, L., & Garber, G. (2016). Using behavior change frameworks to improve healthcare worker influenza vaccination rates: A systematic review. Vaccine, 34(28), 3235-3242. Web.