Empowering Aging Adults: The Nurse’s Role in Encouraging Routine Vaccination and its Impact on Community Health

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The CDC and Healthy People 2020 continue to educate on the importance, the improved ease of access, and insurance coverage for screenings and vaccinations. It is the responsibility of nurses to engage our aging adults in self-advocating for services that benefit individual and community health. How can you, as a registered nurse, impact older adults to encourage routine vaccination? What impact does this have on the community as a whole?
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As a registered nurse, there are several ways that I can impact older adults to encourage routine vaccination. The first step is education. It is important to educate older adults on the benefits of vaccinations and how they can protect themselves and the community. This can be done through one-on-one conversations, group presentations, and through printed materials such as brochures and flyers.

Another important step is to address any concerns or misconceptions that older adults may have about vaccinations. Many older adults may have concerns about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, so it is important to provide them with accurate and up-to-date information. This can be done by citing reliable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

It is also important to make vaccinations as convenient and accessible as possible. This can be achieved by providing vaccinations at community centers, senior centers, and other locations that older adults frequent. It is also important to ensure that older adults have access to transportation to get to vaccination sites.

One study that looked at the impact of nurses on vaccination rates in older adults found that nurses can have a significant impact on vaccination rates through education, outreach, and follow-up. The study found that nurses were effective in increasing vaccination rates for influenza, pneumonia, and shingles, and that their efforts resulted in improved health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs (Ogunleye, et al., 2019).

Encouraging routine vaccinations in older adults has a significant impact on the community as a whole. Vaccinations protect not only the individual who receives the vaccine but also those around them. When a large percentage of the population is vaccinated, it creates herd immunity, which makes it less likely for an outbreak of a disease to occur. This is especially important for older adults who are more susceptible to serious complications from vaccine-preventable diseases.

In conclusion, as a registered nurse, I can have a significant impact on encouraging routine vaccinations in older adults through education, addressing concerns and misconceptions, and making vaccinations as accessible as possible. By doing so, we can improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, and help protect the community as a whole from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Reference: Ogunleye, O., Mehta, P., & Grabenstein, J. (2019). Impact of pharmacists and nurses on improving influenza vaccination rates in adults. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 15(1), 218-226. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2018.1517366.

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