This flu season, Skills for Care is encouraging providers to offer flu immunisation for social care staff.
In a new briefing document aimed at providers, Skills for Care details the benefits of providing staff flu vaccination and options for providing the service to increase uptake.
Flu can be a serious illness, particularly for the elderly or those with other health conditions. Care workers are working with some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, so it’s important that they help protect themselves and those receiving care and support against flu.
Skills for Care says that all social care providers should offer vaccination to all staff directly involved in delivering care. By getting vaccinated, staff protect the people they care for, themselves and their own families and communities.
Flu viruses can change over time, so the vaccines are made in advance of the flu season to protect against the strains of the virus that are most likely to circulate that year.
As well as the health impact on people receiving care and support, flu-related sickness absence puts additional strain and cost on social care providers.
Skills for Care appreciates that organising the immunisation of staff can be a challenge, due to the nature of shift working and the likely high proportion of part-time workers. However, some staff may be eligible for free vaccination via their general practice.
There are a number of options available to social care providers.
- Occupational health – larger providers may have access to services, with trained and experienced immunisers.
- Local contracts with healthcare providers – immunisation is provided in the workplace, and in care homes, residents and staff vaccines could be given at the same time.
- Staff flu vouchers – provides more flexibility for shift workers.
- Staff reimbursement – staff can get the vaccine from any pharmacist.
- Peer vaccinations – employer purchases the vaccine and staff vaccinate each other, enabling shift workers to easily obtain the vaccine.