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Fight to Prevent Influenza

Fight to Prevent Influenza: A Person-and Family-Centred Approach

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Highland Wood is a non-profit 30-bed long-term care home, and is attached to the Haliburton Highland Health Services in the Central East Local Health Integration Network.

Michelle Douglas, the director of care (DOC) reflected on influenza season as being a difficult time for both residents and families when visitors are limited during an outbreak.

"I know how important group activities and services are to our residents. When outbreaks occur the disruption of these services is upsetting, inconvenient and can be isolating. It is up to us as managers and staff to do whatever we can to prevent an outbreak from occurring for the overall well-being of our residents and staff"

Michelle Douglas, DOC

For this reason Douglas decided to assemble an Influenza Prevention Team to "create an organizational culture that exemplifies its commitment to person-and family-centred care" using the RNAO Best Practice Guideline on Person-and Family-Centred Care (2015). The goal was to deliver a holistic and inclusive influenza prevention plan during the 2017-18 season to hopefully prevent influenza or to decrease the length of any outbreaks.

Practice Change

Key champions were identified by Douglas and Andrea Prentice, the infection control nurse to lead influenza prevention strategies before the influenza season began. The rationale was that a team effort was important for developing strong partnerships with residents, families, volunteers and staff.

Vaccination Measures:

The Influenza team were ready for vaccination by having all resident consents and creatinine levels completed in advance, which makes vaccination for all consenting residents quick when the vaccine became available. The team chose to use the "high dose" influenza vaccine due to its stronger immune response.


  • All staff participated in educating visitors about the importance of hand hygiene and not visiting when unwell
  • Education on the Influenza Program was provided to both Resident and Family Councils

Annual Interdepartmental Hand Hygiene Contest at Haliburton Highland Health Services:

  • Highland Wood staff have consistently demonstrated their commitment to hand hygiene. This fall, they won a pizza lunch for having the department with the best results!


Before Resident Contact 100 per cent

After Resident Contact 92.85 per cent

Environmental changes:

  • The home has made an influenza display with hand sanitizer and posters at the front entrance (pictured to the right)


  • All staff increased their use of sanitizer wipes and continually wiped down high-touch surfaces


During the 2017-18 peak influenza season, Highland Wood experienced no respiratory outbreaks, a 100 per cent decrease from the previous year, while the LHIN experienced a 57 per cent increase.