CDC recommends flu vaccination be offered by the end of this month, October; the Centers offer these 5 tips on how to discuss the topic with your patients.
Remember: CDC recommends that flu vaccination be offered by the end of October and be continued throughout the season--into January or later. If you don't offer vaccine at your office/facility, make a referral and then follow-up with the patient; always repeat your recommendation/referral and try to uncover questions or concerns.
S = SHARE: CDC recommends letting a patient know why flu vaccination is the right thing for someone his or her age, health status, occupation, lifestyle, etc. Sharing information on how vaccination has helped
H = HIGHLIGHT: It may help a patient to hear about positive experiences with flu vaccine -- even your own or those of family members. The goal is to reinforce the benefits of vaccination and to strengthen a patient's confidence in the value of innocualtion against flu.
A = ADDRESS: It is important to address questions and any concerns a patient has about vaccine safety, side effects, overall effectiveness, things they may have heard or read. Try to use the simplest language you can, but without sounding patronizing.
R = REMIND: Your patients may need to be reminded that vaccination against influenza not only protects them but also those they live and spend time with, particularly young children and older adults who may be at risk for more serious infections with flu and for related complications.
E = EXPLAIN: The potential costs of being infected with the flu virus include more serious health effects that may happen to anyone of any age, as well as time lost from work, family, and social life.
Flu facts and figures for patients aged 50-64 yrs. Some data from the CDC that may be helpful in communicating the importance of flu vaccination to patients in this age group.
The CDC every year offers physicians a variety of resources to help support efforts to increase levels of flu vaccination in their practices. The suggestions here are from the section of the CDC's HCP Fight Flu Toolkit titled, "How to Make a Strong Flu Vaccine Recommendation." Condensed as the mnemonic device S H A R E, these communication pearls may help you open important conversations about flu prevention during a routine clinic visit this fall.