208506 Taking the Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Challenge: Education and Communication Strategies with the U. S. Dept of Veterans Affairs

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Troy Knighton, EdS, LPC , Public Health Strategic Health Care Group, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC
Within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system, influenza vaccination has long been recognized as the most important means available for preventing and controlling influenza. As the nation's largest single health care provider, VA delivers care for enrolled veterans through over 150 acute care facilities and more than 800 community-based outpatient clinics, domicilaries and community living centers (nursing homes). VA recognizes influenza as a serious and even deadly disease. Each year the VA sets goals for the upcoming influenza vaccination season. In FY08, VA achieved its goals of vaccinating at least 75% of patients, and at least 60% of employees. To prepare for FY2009 flu season, VA purchased over 2 million doses of flu vaccine for administration to its staff and patients. To support and guide national vaccination campaign efforts, VA programs such as public health, occupational health, patient safety, health prevention and employee education collaborate to develop and deliver an array of education and communication resource materials for use in its facilities through the nation. This provides front-line field clinicians with tools to promote information on seasonal flu, hand and respiratory hygiene, as well as policy guidance for clinical care and vaccine delivery. An annual 200 page seasonal flu manual provides up to date CDC and ACIP guidance, best practices for increasing flu vaccination rates, and answers to “frequently asked questions”. Other resource materials include over 100 educational posters, buttons, stickers and materials to assist providers toward reaching goals for vaccination of staff and enrolled patients.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to describe educational methodologies employed by VA to increase seasonal flu vaccination rates; Participants will be able to describe communication strategies employed by VA to support seasonal influenza vaccination campaigns.

Keywords: Public Health Education and Health Promotion, Occupational Health Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the national program manager for seasonal influenza and hand and respiratory hygiene with the VA. I've coordinated flu vaccination education and communication for about 4 years for patients and VA staff.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.