COVID vaccines given to Homeplace residents, staff
Last February and March, The Homeplace at Midway started limiting visits, educating its staff about infectious control practices and began using a significant amount of personal protective equipment, according to Mary Lynn Spalding, president and CEO of Christian Care Communities. Those COVID-19 mitigation efforts were put in place early to keep residents and staff safe, Spalding said. “It’s difficult, very, very difficult,” she acknowledged, “but our staff is working so hard on infection prevention … They’re the ones that deserve all of the credit” for preventing an outbreak from happening at The Homeplace since the pandemic began. Those preventive efforts continued when residents and staff received vaccines during an on-site COVID vaccine clinic on Dec. 26, Spalding said. To address “vaccine hesitancy,” Spalding said, “We did a lot of education with staff, we did a lot of education with our elders, and then, obviously, educating their families,” prior to the clinic. All of the residents at The Homeplace – approximately 48 – received their COVID vaccines during the recent on-site clinic, according to Spalding. While a good number of staff was also immunized, some expressed vaccine hesitancy, she said. Spalding said she’s optimistic many who didn’t get a vaccine Dec. 26 (when nearly 70 Pfizer vaccines were administered), because of concerns related to safety will get the shot when booster vaccines are administered this month. “Now that we’re setting up for our second clinic,” Spalding said, “… we’re having a lot more employees that are saying they are interested in getting the vaccine. “So I was really encouraged by that.” In an email, Spalding said one resident at The Homeplace has tested positive for the coronavirus and has recovered. Twelve staff members have tested positive and all of them are either recovering or have recovered, she said. To address those COVID-related needs, one Christian Care nurse works with employees who may have contracted or been exposed to the coronavirus, another nurse provides the same support to residents and a third focuses on limiting spread within the community, Spalding said. Spalding said a greenhouse model, which she described as a very different model of skilled long-term care, allows every resident at The Homeplace to live in a private room or suite. Nationally, the skilled care in the greenhouse model has resulted in “a significant reduction in the number of COVID cases,” Spalding said. She said The Homeplace is the only long-term care facility in Kentucky using that approach. Twelve residents live in each of the four cottage-style homes in The Homeplace community, Spalding explained. She said the physical separation provided by private rooms and only having two or three universal workers – on average – in each home at any given time has helped keep residents safe by limiting exposure to other people. Twice a week testing of staff has also played a role in limiting spread, Spalding said, so if someone tests positive that case is identified early. Overall, Spalding credited Administrator Tonya Cox and Matthia Kelly, director of wellness, for doing an “excellent job” supporting their Homeplace at Midway team in the ongoing efforts to keep residents safe during a pandemic.