Working for Healthcare Professionals

The aim of Work Package 4 (WP4) is to develop strategies to educate and train health care professionals (HCPs) and to promote awareness among stakeholders involved in elderly care management.

Focus Group study progress

WP4 started a focus group study this year, interviewing 16 focus groups of older adults (aged 50+) over 4 countries. The aim of the study was to understand the target groups’ perspective and information needs on vaccinations. Additionally they wanted to explore the networks used by older adults to retrieve information about health and/or vaccination. At the moment the team is working on an article on the findings of the focus group study.

Next year the team will continue with the focus group study by exploring the attitudes and perspectives and identify information -and educational needs and learning objectives in the education of HCPs concerning vaccination of older adults. Additionally during the interviews they will explore and visualize the network around and the information flows between HCPs regarding older adult vaccination.

Working on reviews

Currently WP4 is working on 2 systematic reviews. The team has started writing these before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. Both of the systematic review protocols have been published earlier this year.

The first systematic review consist of qualitative data (‘qualitative evidence synthesis’). The team will explore healthcare workers’ perceptions and experiences of communicating with people aged 50 years or older about vaccination. The protocol can read at The Cochrane Library. The second systematic review consists of quantitative data. The team will identify the various educational interventions targeting healthcare professionals that are shown to be effective in increasing vaccination rates among adults. The review protocol has been published by Prospero.

With national governments preparing for the (future) COVID-19 vaccine and with increased interest in the influenza vaccine, these reviews are more relevant than ever. Older adults are target audiences for both vaccines. The way healthcare workers communicate about vaccines to the target group is a very important part in decision making in this age group. In addition, it is crucial to understand which interventions are effective in encouraging healthcare professionals to inform to older people, and offer vaccines to protect their older patients against this pandemic as well as other infectious diseases.

Both reviews are expected to be finalized in early 2021 and will contribute to an evidence-informed development of national vaccine communication strategies.