Situation Report | April 12, 2021
Local, state and federal public health systems are looking to home care as they seek to take on the challenge of COVID-19 vaccinations for the homebound. Many home care agencies are already taking on this role, balanced by the competing service demands of their active caseloads, nurse availability, and other practical challenges associated with vaccination in the home and community settings.
In this context, HCA has been working diligently to profile provider best-practices and experiences with COVID-19 vaccination, sharing this technical guidance with agencies, and advising vaccination hubs and officials at all levels.
HCA members convened a workgroup of members who have vaccinated patients or were in the process of starting to do so. We asked about the following areas:
- Describe how the homebound population was identified and suggest recommendations to identify the population moving forward.
- Identify partners that were needed to develop a collaborative strategy that supported both the provider and consumer’s needs.
- Name some barriers and challenges as well as necessary accommodations that were implemented to accomplish vaccination efforts.
- Describe successful strategies that were implemented.
- Identify realistic expectations and practical limits for providers in administering vaccines for homebound individuals.
The experiences shared by the participating home care agencies were detailed in a paper developed by HCA. The paper describes the progress, challenges and corresponding recommendations to help support the ongoing in-home vaccination efforts of home care agencies across New York State.
Last week, we discussed these findings with state officials to help them better understand the challenges that home care providers face in vaccinating their patients. We also recommended changes needed to properly support agency capabilities to vaccinate.
We expect that local health departments will soon be required to develop a plan to vaccinate the homebound. This plan would likely include: how the vaccines will be administered; the partners that counties will collaborate with, including home care agencies, emergency medical services, local offices for the aging and others; how vaccinations will be publicized and scheduled; and more.
HCA and the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO) had earlier sent a letter to county health departments about training for in-home testing and vaccine collaboration with home care agencies. We will be following up with NYSACHO and county health departments about further collaboration with home care providers on vaccinating individuals in their homes.
HCA will update members as this situation progresses.