IM Injections—Best Practices for Safe Vaccine Administration in Nursing Homes

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

This resource provides nursing home clinicians with an easy-to-use guide that outlines steps to safely and correctly administer an intramuscular injection, like the COVID-19, flu, pneumonia, and shingles vaccines. This reference tool provides best practices for administering intramuscular injections, including photos of proper technique. It also includes steps to take before administering an injection to a resident with cognitive impairment.

“When vaccinating nursing home residents, proper intramuscular (IM) administration is important to make sure the vaccine does its job and to avoid shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA). Even experienced vaccinators can benefit from a periodic review of best practices for giving IM injections. This ensures that shots are prepared, given, and disposed of properly. Those who vaccinate nursing home residents must also acknowledge special considerations for older adults, such as muscle wasting, involuntary movement, and confusion. The following best practices align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine administration guidance.”

The hyperlink in the first paragraph of this blog takes you to a 3-page guide.  As the quote in the above paragraph says, we could all benefit from a periodic refresher. 

On a related note, here’s an AHRQ website you’ll want to bookmark for future reference: COVID-19 Resources Catalog for Nursing Homes.

AHRQ provides free training and mentorship to nursing homes across the country through the National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network. The Network supports the implementation of evidence-based prevention and safety practices within nursing homes to protect residents and staff from infection.

This catalog is a searchable database of COVID-19 nursing home safety and quality improvement resources. Use the filters on the left to view resources by topic, source, resource type, date, and audience. New resources will be added as they become available.  There are currently 138 resources on this website.