Nursing Homes Set Goal To Get 75% of Staff Vaccinated By June 30
PRESS RELEASE | February 25, 2021 | by Lisa Sanders
Long Term Care Communities Are Encouraging Staff To Receive Vaccinations To Protect Fellow Colleagues and Vulnerable Older Residents
Contact: Lisa Sanders
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year and LeadingAge, the association of more than 5,000 mission-driven aging services providers including nursing homes, announced today, with the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the nationwide goal of getting 75 percent of the approximately 1.5 million nursing home staff vaccinated by June 30, 2021.
“With COVID-19 vaccinations being distributed across long term care facilities over the past two months, we have already seen a decline in cases in nursing homes, indicating that the vaccines are working,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “Many of our staff continue to be excited about the vaccines and the hope they represent, but some caregivers still have questions. We are continuing to inform our staff about the credibility and safety of the vaccines through our #GetVaccinated campaign, and we hope this goal will further encourage more of our staff members to get the vaccine.”
“Achieving a high rate of staff vaccinations will be a game changer for nursing homes. Real progress has been made in vaccinating nursing home residents. Now we must also achieve high rates of staff vaccinations,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “It’s critical to acknowledge the reasons for vaccine hesitancy are real and varied, and staff concerns must be understood and thoughtfully addressed as we work toward this goal. LeadingAge is committed to doing all we can with our partners and the Administration to ensure staff at our mission-driven members—at nursing homes and other care settings—have the information, conversations and support they need to get vaccinated.”
LeadingAge, in partnership with the Black Coalition Against COVID (BCAC), is sponsoring a national town hall Thursday, March 4 to address concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine among all levels of staff working in aging services communities. The association also regularly shares important vaccine resources and hosts special webinars to connect members with experts on vaccine education.
According to a preliminary analysis, COVID cases decreased at a faster rate among nursing homes that had completed their first vaccine clinic, compared to those nearby that had not yet administered the vaccine in the first month of the vaccine rollout. Recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data shows cases and deaths in nursing homes are declining rapidly, which hopefully indicates means the vaccines are reducing the spread of the virus is working, according to AHCA/NCAL.
“We look forward to working with President Biden’s Administration and the CDC to make this goal happen,” added Parkinson. “We cannot chance slowing the positive progress we have already made. Long term care facilities have been at the forefront of the pandemic since the beginning and our staff care for some of the most susceptible to the virus, making it even more imperative that their caregivers get vaccinated. The sooner we can get more of our staff vaccinated, the sooner we will be able to defeat this deadly virus.”
In December, AHCA/NCAL launched #GetVaccinated, a nationwide campaign that aims to encourage all long term care residents, families and staff members to consent to the vaccine as well as provide credible information to help inform their decision.
We represent more than 5,000 nonprofit aging services providers and other mission-minded organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we use applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building to make America a better place to grow old. Our membership, which now includes the providers of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, encompasses the continuum of services for people as they age, including those with disabilities. We bring together the most inventive minds in the field to lead and innovate solutions that support older adults wherever they call home. For more information visit leadingage.org.
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org or www.ncal.org.