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Joint Commission Issues Advisory on Flu


By Cathryn Jakicic Emergency Preparedness
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Facility managers are aware of potential emergencies all year round, but the arrival of winter sends the signal that flu season is just around the corner.

The Joint Commission has issued a new advisory suggesting that healthcare workers who usually skip a flu shot need to consider the harm they might be doing to patients and co-workers. According to the new Quick Safety, Issue 46, “Protecting patients and others from influenza in the healthcare setting” emphasizes that prevention is the best way to protect oneself, family, patients and co-workers from influenza.

Joint Commission-accredited organizations are required to offer flu vaccinations to all licensed independent practitioners and staff. Inhaling droplets from a sneeze or a cough can spread the flu from person to person. Droplets can land on surfaces and spread to others who touch those contaminated surfaces. A person with the flu can be contagious the day before symptoms start and remain contagious for up to seven days.

In addition to the vaccine, the advisory recommends that healthcare workers clean their hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub, as well as clean and disinfect surfaces frequently.

Recommended actions for healthcare organizations include implementing supportive, non-punitive time-off policies to encourage sick employees from coming to work.

Cathryn Jakicic is healthcare industries editor of FacilitiesNet.com. For more information on hospital campuses and other medical facilities, click here.

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