Vaccinating homebound patients requires a high degree of precision, explains Gretchen Bates, vice president of Clinical Operations, who is leading efforts to inoculate eligible homebound Home Health & Hospice patients against COVID-19.
Because of changing weekly quantities and vaccine delivery times — and new, vaccine-eligible patients continually admitted to our care — a great amount of flexibility is also required. Establishing a master vaccine schedule has been, in a word, challenging.
“Doses get cancelled or get increased,” Bates said, explaining that recently, 102 doses arrived from the state instead of the anticipated 70. This meant quickly identifying and confirming 32 additional vaccine recipients, then locating available staff to administer those shots.
A very tight timeline exists once a vial is opened — the team has just six hours to get doses into arms. Once vaccines are carefully drawn up, packed in coolers and ready to go, nurses fan out across our two-county service area (Chittenden and Grand Isle), making visits until all shots are delivered or six hours are up. The goal is to prevent any dose from going unused.
Home Health & Hospice’s nine-nurse per diem Vaccine Team has so far delivered 237 vaccinations to homebound patients. At the end of one recent week, the team provided 66 vaccines on Friday, 36 on Saturday. Considering travel time and distance, these were no small feats.
A total of 84 homebound Home Health & Hospice patients have so far received first and second doses from our team.
Meet one grateful patient who is among them. #OurShotVT
Please note that, due to staffing limitations, Home Health & Hospice is only vaccinating those patients who are homebound and being cared for by Home Health & Hospice. The public is urged to visit the Vermont Department of Health to learn about vaccine eligibility.