Vaccines; Long Term Care
Medically appropriate, timely immunizations are an important component of the medical plans for approximately 1.6 million individuals who reside in the nation's long-term care (LTC) facilities. Increasing the immunization rates among these persons is a recognized public health goal. LTC facility residents are often members of high risk groups and are more susceptible to infectious diseases. The elderly, many of whom reside in LTC facilities, comprise 90% of the 36,000 annual deaths from influenza. Immunizations are equally important for employees of LTC facilities. Immunizations not only improve the individual's health status, but staff who have direct contact with residents represent the primary source of infectious disease outbreaks in facilities. However, 64% of all persons who work in health-care settings fail to receive immunization for influenza annually. This study examines state laws and regulations that address the provision of immunizations recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), to residents and/or staff of state-licensed long-term care facilities (LTC). To conduct the study, the laws were compared to the Medicare/Medicaid conditions of participation (COP) for LTC facilities. The COP are: 1) assessing individuals to determine their immunization status, 2) providing individuals with education regarding vaccines, 3) implementing methods so individuals may refuse vaccines, 4) providing vaccines to all eligible persons, 5) adhering to the ACIP standard, and 6) maintaining appropriate documentation regarding immunization status for residents/staff. These COP criteria were adopted as the optimal standard from which the laws were evaluated.
Stewart, A., Cox, M., & Rosenbaum, S. (2005). The epidemiology of U.S. immunization law: Immunization requirements for staff and residents of long-term care facilities under state laws/regulations. Washington, D.C.: Department of Health Policy, School of Public Health and Health Services, The George Washington University.