The Oklahoma State Health Department recognized the McLoud Nursing Center on their program of tracking and treating infections and outcomes with flu and pneumonia vaccines.

According to Administrator Marilyn Love, the nursing center cares for elderly people and their long term care.

"We are also a skilled nursing facility that after someone has been in the hospital we bring them here to give them more time to recuperate and possibly give them therapy...to get back home," Love said.

Love said the center received an award from the state Health Department for their infection assesment program and their immunization process which were developed by Director of Nursing Markeeta Little and Assistant Director of Nursing Nikki Willis.

"(They sent) someone here to do a video of them talking about our practices we use that will be used as a training video for other nursing homes across the state," Love said.

Willis said the nursing center has to evaluate their program in order to prevent any kind of illness outbreaks they may impact their residents.

"On infection control we start with an assessment when we notice a change in the condition of a resident...If it meets the criteria of an infection...then we contact the doctor and let him know of what we suspect and most of the time he will order antibiotics or...testing," Willis said.

Little said it is the goal of the state to minimize the use of antibiotics because it can get rid of good bacteria in residents and can cause other issues if used too much.

"We utilize our assessing skills to determine if it's something that they really need...So we're trying to use less antibiotics. That's what the goal of the whole program is," Little said.

In addition to their infection control, Little said the Health Department is also recognizing the nursing center for their illness prevention methods.

"The other part of our program that (the state) is interested in is our immunization program," Little said. "Every patient that's here or admitted here is assessed if they've had their immunizations. If they haven't we offer them."

Little explained during flu season residents or their families sign consent forms and then receive their immunizations.

"We provide flu shots and pneumonia if it's needed or wanted and we monitor the condition afterwards," Little said. "In flu season we're constantly on the look out for symptoms."

The nursing director explained last flu season the center had a large outbreak of illness, but after working together as a team, the staff developed an effective program this year.

"We haven't had any outbreaks here. I think our program this year has been really effective," Little said.

Love explained according to the Health Department, the nursing center has had 100 percent compliance regarding their vaccinations.

This means, Love said other than residents with allergies to the vaccines or religious opposition, all residents and staff at the nursing center received their immunizations

"We were able to convince and educate our staff and our residents enough that everyone participated and we were able to get all of them done," Little said.

The health professional explained it's important for other nursing centers to develop this type of program because the flu or another infection can have a drastic effect on the elderly population.

"Their immune system is not able to fight off things like ours can and younger people and they 're much more susceptible to illness and secondary infections," Little said.

For Little, Love and Willis the recognition from the state is an honor and validation of their hard work.

"We've been very flattered and excited about it. It shows we're on the right track and that if we can help other homes we certainly are willing to do that," Little said.