Most often, it was the day they were anxiously waiting and a step towards normality.
The COVID-19 vaccine arrived this week at Shore Haven, a senior living community in Okonomo Wok that provides skilled nursing, life support and other long-term care.
Residents of the nursing home were taken to the Shore Haven living room on Monday morning, lined up there, going behind the curtains and ready to receive the first shot of the two-dose model naregime.
“I didn’t have to think about it. I was going to get the vaccine,” said Maxine Arrestad, who lives in a nursing home in Shore Haven.
“It’s a dream come true. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said Shorehaven employee Sarah Stearns about the arrival of the vaccine.
The scene unfolded throughout Wisconsin this week as the state approaches the completion of its first dose in a nursing home. Nursing home residents are most vulnerable to COVID-19 due to their proximity to their living quarters, age and underlying illness.
Vaccine timing is a godsend for nursing homes that have largely avoided the widespread outbreak of COVID-19.
In Shore Haven, only two residents were reported to have been infected with the virus, according to data reported to the Medicare and Medicaid Service Centers. One died of COVID-19.
Track COVID-19 in Wisconsin: View the latest data on case and vaccine deployment
In Wisconsin, nearly 90% of the state’s approximately 350 nursing homes report at least one case of COVID-19-infected residents. More than 7,100 nursing home residents in Wisconsin have been infected and more than 1,400 have died of COVID-19, according to the latest data reported to the CMS.
This is more than a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in Wisconsin.
I want to return to normal
Vaccines do not mean that nursing homes can quickly return to their original state. Nursing home staff still do not know when they can welcome visitors, when they can relax the requirements for wearing masks, and when they can ease the test.
However, for many, the vaccine is a signal that it will return to normal.
Employees most hope to bring visitors back to the facility so that families can see face-to-face with their loved ones, not just through windows and computer screens.
“It was very difficult for the residents,” said Celeste Klaus, an associate nurse who has worked at Shore Haven for nearly 40 years. “And if you take a person with dementia and cause a pandemic, that can’t be explained. One day they will work. The next day, in their turmoil,” Why no one sees me ??'””
Almost all Shorehaven residents eligible to be vaccinated on Monday were vaccinated. This includes 84 skilled nursing and rehabilitation residents, 14 memory care and 10 enhanced life support residents.
Residents with other support on the Shore Haven campus will not be vaccinated until late. Nursing home residents were prioritized by the state over assisted consumers.
Williams-Berg says the proportion of vaccinated staff is small, with 164 employees, or about 60% of skilled nursing and caregiver employees.
Caregivers are hesitant to vaccinate more than residents, according to Walgreens and CVS officials. Pharmacy chains that administer vaccines through federal programs inoculate nursing homes nationwide to assist residents and staff.
Shorehaven administrator Emily Carls said her employees have different feelings about the vaccine, some are “very excited” to get the vaccine, and others can be long-term. Some people are “fearing” the side effects, he said.
“No one reacts to this exactly the same,” she said.
She said there was little incentive for vaccination for young and healthy employees. Healthcare professionals say that even if someone is vaccinated and protected from being infected with COVID-19, they may still be carriers of the virus.
However, care providers want more employees to be vaccinated as the vaccine goes on sale. Shorehaven employees who were not vaccinated on Monday will have the opportunity to receive their first vaccination when a Walgreens pharmacist returns to the facility for a second vaccination.
State officials have so far not answered questions about how many caregivers are vaccinated through federal programs, CVS Health reported As of Monday, we have given over 11,400 initial doses to long-term care residents and staff in Wisconsin during 128 visits. Walgreens does not publish state-by-state data on the doses administered throughout the program.
Pharmacy chains say they are hoping to end their first dose in a nursing home By January 25..
“I know what this virus can do”
Staff at the Congregational Home, a nursing home and senior living facility in Brookfield, eager to get the vaccine as soon as possible, welcomed a Walgreens pharmacist to the nursing home last Saturday.
“This is just the first step towards returning to normal,” said Catherine Sorakian, director of admissions and marketing. “We want our residents and their families to be together. We don’t want to worry about getting sick or infecting our patients every day. It’s always deep in our hearts. I’m worried about it. “
Eleven residents of the congregational home were infected with the virus, and one nursing home resident was killed by the virus, according to Sorakian.
Sorakian knows it might be worse, and that’s why Saturday was so important. Light-colored balloons decorate the booth where pharmacists are injecting, bright music plays, streamers hang in the outside corridor, and poster boards showing why residents and employees have been vaccinated. I did.
“I know what this virus can do,” she said. “We’re doing pretty well inside the building with a low number, but there are still cases …. No matter how hard we try to prevent the virus, it’s an insidious virus. It can invade. .. “
Rehab resident Diane Hoop didn’t have to think twice about vaccination.
“I’m 80 and I don’t want to be fooled by landing in the hospital,” she said.
Hip had a stroke in October and has been at the congregation’s house since November to learn how to walk again.
The most difficult part of the pandemic is not seeing her husband. She said that the only communication they have with each other is through the phone.
Chelsey Abeln, a rehab social worker at Congregational Home, states that rehab is done by residents like Heup and who need the most family.
“Their families know them best, and their families know what they are doing every day and how to help them get them back in place,” she said.
Abern was relieved by the news of the vaccine, but said he had to think about it before deciding to vaccinate himself. She was worried whether it would affect her ability to have more children.
Resident Joyce Neeland was also shot on Saturday. She said she had no plans to vaccinate at first because she is a resident with livelihood support. Nursing home residents are a top priority.
But when she was offered a chance, she knew what her daughters wanted from her and took it.
“At my age, what do I have to lose?” She said.
Sarah Volpenhein is a report for US military reporters focusing on news of value to the underserved community of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.Please email her [email protected].. Consider supporting journalism informing democracy with tax-deductible gifts for this reporting activity. JSOnline.com/RFA..
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