Aim: To audit current practice around opportunistic immunisation in a New Zealand hospital and make recommendations for improvement.
Methods: We reviewed inpatient notes for 369 patients aged 3-23 months admitted over a 6-month period in 2007. Data was obtained regarding children's immunisation status, documentation of this and action taken in response to the under-immunised child. Literature review and discussion with local clinicians were used to identify recommendations for future practice.
Results: 84% of patients had their immunisation status documented on admission; only 60% of these were up-to-date with immunisations. Official immunisation records were rarely available. In 79% of patients who were behind with immunisation, no follow-up action was recorded, and only 4% of under-immunised children received catch-up immunisation on the unit.
Conclusions: Current practice around opportunistic immunisation is poor. A number of measures could be expected to improve this; these include establishing routine systems for obtaining immunisation records, a visual reminder system for immunisation and training more staff in immunisation.