Last month the Australian government implemented stricter infection controls for all aged care facilities in the country. As of 18 March 2020, anyone entering an aged care residence or establishment must have an up-to-date vaccination against influenza — this includes your staff, contractors, volunteers, health workers, visitors and the relatives of residents.
In today’s blog, we’ll walk you through five key ways Rapid Safety Systems can ensure your aged care facility meets the Australian government’s requirements for compulsory flu vaccinations. Even if you’re not using Rapid — though we’re sure you’ll want to after reading this — take these five action points and implement them immediately.
1. Use an aged care visitor management software to control site entry
You now have a legal obligation to control the entry of all visitors to your aged care facility. To do this, you’ll need a questionnaire or checklist at every entry point — and someone actively monitoring at all times. Rapid Access — a series of kiosks, scanners and terminals that track visitors from the time they arrive on site — is an efficient and reliable way of carrying out these checks.
Your aged care visitor management process might look something like this:
- Visitor arrives at the site.
- Known visitors are cross-checked in the system for the status of their flu vaccination.
- New visitors are asked provide evidence of a flu vaccination eg, Medicare transcript, doctor’s certificate before being allowed entry.
- Entry is denied to any visitor without a valid flu vaccination certificate.
One of the best things about Rapid Safety Systems is the way the hardware, apps and software integrate seamlessly. This means that regular visitors and contractors can have their details kept in the system, enabling easy access each time they visit.
REMEMBER: Rapid Access allows you to implement any number of infection controls.
2. Pre-qualifying contractors to ensure they have flu vaccination certificate
Rapid Contractor Management is an efficient way of managing the people who regularly enter your aged care facility. Our innovative software allows you to store the details and pre-qualify your contractors before they enter the premises.
You could set up your Rapid Contractor Management software* in your aged care facilities to gather:
- Name and personnel type of visitor.
- Date of last flu vaccination.
- Copy of flu vaccination certificate.
Flu vaccination certificates can be scanned or uploaded as a PDF/JPEG then attached to individual visitor/contractor files. Even better, the contractor/visitor can be automatically notified by email when their flu vaccination is due for renewal. Alerts will also be sent to appropriate managers and contracting companies when the system denies visitors with lapsed vaccinations to enter the site.
*When integrated with Rapid Induct and Rapid Access.
3. Updating inductions and on-the-job training to include a flu vaccination certificate
If your site is using Rapid Induct you can quickly (and easily) update your site inductions and on-the-job training to reflect the compulsory flu vaccinations for aged care workers. Our suggestions include:
- Site rules to include compulsory flu vaccinations for aged care workers.
- New workers understand that up-to-date flu shots are now part of the terms and conditions of their employment, and the vaccination must be completed every year.
- List of appropriate evidence of immunisation status — eg, statement or record from a health practitioner, immunisation history statement from Medicare.
- Operating procedures for the reception, administration, and HR staff relating to site entry, record keeping, expired vaccinations, compliance breaches.
- Request flu vaccination from the niece of an elderly resident prior to them visiting.
4. Aged care flu vaccination certificate compliance auditing
Set up Rapid Auditor to ensure your facility is correctly following these procedures. If you are a large organisation and managing multiple sites, you can manage these audits remotely, without needing to enter each worksite.
To comply with the aged care legislation, your compliance audit system might proactively look for:
- Workers who refuse or forget to update their vaccination.
- Invalid flu vaccination certificates such as not properly signed, not on letterhead, not dated, illegible, the name doesn’t match visitor/contractor).
- Front gate staff not following check-in procedures.
- Workers who are unable to have a flu vaccination due to allergies or other health reasons.
5. Reporting aged care flu vaccination certificate breaches for corrective action
Workers, visitors, or contractors who enter your aged care facility and have not had a recent flu injection are not only breaking the law but putting the lives of your residents at risk. Any breaches should be recorded in an incident report and investigated for corrective action.
We suggest the following aged care incident investigation process:
- Details of breach — time, date, name of person, purpose of visit.
- Flu related data — did they have any symptoms of flu, did anyone become sick because of the breach?
- Why the person was able to enter the facility without an up-to-date vaccination — error at front gate, employee with lapsed vaccination, person unable to have vaccination for allergic/health reasons.
- Areas the person visited — were any residents or key personnel in direct contact with the person?
- Corrective actions — tighter operating procedures, remedial training, disciplinary action.
If you are already using Rapid Incident Reporting, you’ll find this process very easy to implement, and corrective actions can be instantly assigned to departmental managers or key staff. Senior management will be immediately notified when each action is completed.
Manage your aged care facilities safety with Rapid
Already using Rapid Safety Systems and need some help implementing the recent changes to the aged care legislation? Or just like some more information about Rapid’s aged care software systems.
We’re here to ensure you get the most from your software.