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Home Health Agencies step up to combat the Covid-19 Delta Variant

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Home Health Agencies step up to combat the Covid-19 Delta Variant

President Joe Biden called on Americans to get the COVID vaccine, stressing that the nation was prepared to deal with the surge in COVID-19 cases like never before. The news came as the highly contagious Delta variant is driving a coronavirus surge, with the nation reporting more than 85,000 cases a day.

Almost 70% of adults have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, a benchmark President Biden had hoped to reach nearly a month earlier, on July 4. According to latest figures from the CDC, 163.9 million people, or 49 percent of the total U.S. population, have now been fully vaccinated.

COVID vaccination of homebound persons present unique challenges

  • Homebound persons need the help of another person or medical equipment such as crutches, walkers, or wheelchairs to leave their home
  • However, medical providers believe that their health or illness could get worse if they leave their home. It might be too taxing to visit the hospital or Doctor’s clinic for such a small procedure.

Home Health Care Agencies are offering affordable and convenient on-call services, for vaccination at home. However, data suggests that the current design of the Medicare home health benefit is not sufficient to meet the needs of post-acute beneficiaries.

Benefits Of Vaccination At Home

Vaccination is a simple procedure and can be easily administered at home under the care of a trained nurse. Benefits of getting vaccination at home are:

  • Saves senior citizens from travelling all the way to the hospital
  • Vaccinations cause a lot of stress among elderly. It is better to get them vaccinated in the comfort of their homes, where they can also be handled by family members
  • This allows luxury to the elderly, to choose the day and time of vaccination.

Pre-vaccination planning for vaccination of homebound persons

Providers vaccinating homebound persons should carefully pre-plan to understand how they can most efficiently prevent vaccine wastage and ensure safe and effective vaccination by:

  • Estimating number of doses needed as accurately as possible
  • Plan to use all doses in a vial transported for home vaccination to minimize wasting vaccine doses, such as having contingency plans for vaccination of caregivers, or other persons in the home.
  • Providing information in a variety of accessible formats (e.g., American Sign Language, multiple languages, braille, large font, low literacy, materials with pictures or visual cues)
  • Mapping out travel plans to ensure vaccine is utilized within the approved time frames for use of vaccine at different temperatures, including factoring in pre-vaccination preparation time, and post-vaccination observation time.
  • Ensuring readiness to maintain, monitor, and report temperature of the vaccine from the time vaccine is taken out of a clinical facility, during transportation, and up to the time the vaccine is administered.

It is essential that home health care professionals receive effective training to meet demands of their roles. They should get proper guidance for storage, handling, preparation, and administration of each COVID-19 vaccine product. Home health care professionals as well as non-clinical staff, administering COVID-19 vaccines should be knowledgeable about requirements and best practices.

Staff should be thoroughly trained for accessibility-specific issues, such as working with people who are blind or have limited vision; those who are deaf or hard of hearing; those who work with service animals; and those with various language, physical, social, or sensory needs.

Role of HHAs during the Covid-19, Delta variant outbreak

As our nation confronts COVID-19; the Delta outbreak is a more infectious strain of Coronavirus that continues to spread across the U.S. The home health community is working aggressively to protect patients, home health care providers, and communities. As an industry of highly skilled professionals caring for vulnerable populations with multiple chronic conditions, home health agencies are uniquely qualified to play an active role in treating individuals diagnosed with COVID-19. Especially with increased hospitalizations, frontline staff are trained for crucial aftercare of patients as per government norms.

Agencies are geared with experience and learning from challenges encountered last year during the COVID-19 outbreak. They are better prepared with strategic planning, trained staff, vaccination drives and well-defined execution this time, ensuring the safety of both, Home health staff and patients.


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