Overall infection rates are declining as vaccine efforts increase, but the United States is approaching a severe milestone of 500,000 COVID-19 deaths.
State data show that in Florida alone, more than 30,000 resident deaths associated with the coronavirus have been reported since the outbreak of the pandemic. And, like the rest of the country, Sunshine continues to struggle to deploy vaccines, especially for home care workers.
For more information, Home Health Care News introduced the latest “Disrupt” episode with Bobby Lolley, Secretary-General of the Florida Home Health Care Association (HCAF). The highlights of the conversation are as follows and have been edited for length and clarity.
For context, At least 64 million times The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Monday data shows that the US is receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, about 13% of the total population is vaccinated at least once.
HHCN: What did Florida say about home health care and hospice workers? How does it actually work?
Rory: I’m glad you told me about hospice. Everything I say clearly applies to hospice providers and caregivers. To see Florida, first take a step back to the federal level.
The CDC, the US Medicare & Medicaid Service Center (CMS), and the Government’s Special Advisory Board have studied how to ship the COVID-19 vaccine nationwide. All of those groups agreed that they should be in the first quartile, or first round, of vaccination when home care and hospice providers come out.
But what happened in Florida was that most of the vaccines from the initial distribution level were sent directly to the hospital. Now, Florida would say that about 15% of the vaccine was allocated to go to the hospital for health care workers outside the environment. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. It is possible that the vaccine was too scarce to avoid. But we didn’t get the share from the beginning.
That’s probably the easiest way to say it.
I also saw the news that some of the individual vaccine sites are keeping home care workers away, despite the clear obligation that all frontline staff should be vaccinated.
Okay. The story that came out is sad. Think of a home health assistant who takes care of the elderly at home. Maybe they have taken care of the individual for years. We hear about assistants who help older people get into cars, take them to vaccination centers, stand side by side with them, and help them while they are being vaccinated. I will.The· [center] Vaccines the elderly, but keeps home care assistants away. Such stories have come to us over and over again.
I think there is some kind of blind spot. I attribute it to the lack of general communication. It’s clear that everyone in Florida understands that vaccines are given to people over the age of 65. However, what some vaccine centers are unaware of is that home care providers or healthcare professionals who are in direct contact with COVID patients are also included in the priority list. It has been overlooked over and over again in Florida.
As we talked about here on February 11th, what exactly does the vaccine distribution process look like? How many vaccination sites are there? Is there an online registration process?
It’s still very fragmented. In the way Florida did this, state officials had all local county health departments decide how to approach the deployment. That is, there are so many processes, some that are very different from other processes, and some that are slightly different.
Many thought, “Oh, the most efficient way would be to register online.” They created it in a hurry, but found that many people did not have access to the internet. After understanding that, there was state guidance on how to perhaps explore some way to implement a telephone system. It seems to be more successful than online registration.
But after all, every time a vaccine opens in Wal-Mart, a pharmacy, or other central location, the vaccine is always too low for the number of people in the enrolled line. This includes home health care workers.
Behind this vaccine conversation is the ongoing pandemic itself. Although numbers are declining, all states are still dealing with new daily cases of infection. How is the situation in Florida?
The numbers are certainly declining. We can all be very grateful for that. But there are still many risks. And with vaccines, it’s not as free as everyone wants. With home care Big concern This means that some older people are vaccinated, so these home-based individuals will say, “I don’t want home care workers to come to my house unless I’m vaccinated.”
It sets this kind of trajectory where they do not receive care from their caregivers. They get sick. Then they become more and more frail and have to go to the hospital. That scenario can be easily addressed by targeting home care workers and vaccination.
It obviously sets the staffing challenge, right?
exactly. There are not many home care workers infected with the virus. But you have to think about it: these healthcare professionals are out and seeing maybe 6, 7, 8 … maybe 10 patients a day. The risk of them becoming infected with COVID is very high. That factor alone is losing personnel.
Vaccines may be available for individuals who desire it, but then there is also the issue of hesitation. What do you see or hear from your state caregiver?
As you know, few people have been vaccinated, so we don’t hear much about refusal. To use that term, I would like to point out that the rejection rate was high in facilities, especially in some long-term care facilities (ALF) and skilled long-term care facilities (SNF).Most of the caregivers working in those facilities declined or refused [vaccine].. I think you won’t see such a high level of “no” in the home care sector.
why? Most clinicians and caregivers visiting seniors at home are basically unpaid unless they are allowed to enter the home. They will not be paid unless they provide the service. It will motivate home care workers, especially home care assistants and CNAs.
Do many Florida facilities allow home care workers to enter only if they are vaccinated?
There were some of those complaints. But there is a bright spot here. One thing we have heard is that these facilities, especially ALF, include home care workers in their vaccination process. They were allowed to do that by the state Ministry of Public Health.
Most HHCN readers and podcast listeners know the answer to this question, but for those who don’t: Like anyone else who directly cares for COVID positivity, a home care worker will vaccinate. Why is priority so important? Individual?
If you look only at the elderly in Medicare and the elderly at home, you’re talking somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000. This does not include the Medicaid population or those who personally pay for home care services. As a result, many elderly people are dependent on home care providers. Those providers are their lifelines. Many of those hundreds of thousands of older people are unable to go to a vaccination center. Home care and home care workers entering their homes are also their main lifeline and the best chance of getting vaccinated.
Have you heard from colleagues in other states working on similar vaccine challenges?
I would say so, especially in larger states. I talked a lot with Texas. I talked a lot with California. There are several states that have been very successful in deploying vaccination, such as Utah, West Virginia, and New Mexico.
Looking at the success, it seems that he has not tried to reinvent the wheel. It’s like pushing the vaccine to a local pharmacy, as they’ve been doing for the flu vaccine over the last few years. The flow of vaccines to local pharmacies and local health departments, whether health care workers or the elderly, seems to have provided a foothold in delivering vaccines to residents.
Home healthcare workers vie for access when the US exceeds the dose of 64 MCOVID-19 vaccine
Source link Home healthcare workers vie for access when the US exceeds the dose of 64 MCOVID-19 vaccine