Published DateLACONIA — In the midst of the toughest flu season in years, if you are sick and need to visit Lakes Region General Hospital, Franklin Regional Hospital or any provider practice in the LRGHealthcare network, chances are very good the staff caring for you have been immunized against the disease.
Every October, LRGHealthcare's Infection Control and Employee Health departments set forth to immunize the entire LRGHealthcare network. This is accomplished by offering on-site and off-site, free flu shot clinics for all staff, providers, volunteers and clergy.
"We take the spread of any infection very seriously," stated LRGHealthcare Director of Infection Control Darlene Burrows. "Our control measures are an important part of our every day commitment to quality and patient safety, and it includes planning for the flu season yearly."
In 2012, LRGHealthcare set a goal to increase seasonal flu vaccinations, and their network immunization rate hit an all time high of 93%. LRGHealthcare's rating is well above the national average, which was about 83% of health care workers in hospitals to receive flu shots, according to the CDC.
At LRGHealthcare, the flu shot program is mandatory, but there are exemption allowances for medical and religious reasons, and health care workers who are not immunized must sign a declination, and are required to wear a mask in all patient care areas during the flu season.
"All LRGHealthcare facilities, including hospitals and practices follow infection control guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services," expressed LRGHealthcare Medical Director of Infectious Disease, Dr. Abigail Dacuycuy. "Patient quality and safety are top priorities—it is why we participate in initiatives such as, 'High 5 for a Healthy NH' hand hygiene. When flu season rolls around our healthcare workers get immunized because they understand the importance of protecting the people they care for every day both at work and at home.
The key to limiting the spread of infectious diseases, in hospitals and the community is common sense. The CDC estimates that infections passed between humans would be reduced by 50% if everyone practiced good hand hygiene. Hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, the practice of good respiratory hygiene, getting seasonal flu shots, and staying home when you are ill—those are all simple solutions, and are the most effective ways to protect ourselves.