Many Americans have embraced the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine, yet the people closest to our most vulnerable have not done so in numbers you would expect.
According to federal data, 45% of nursing home staff are not fully vaccinated despite working with older and health-challenged individuals where COVID-19 is the most dangerous.
Data released from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) shows that nursing home residents are vaccinated in large numbers. A national average of 78% is fully vaccinated in each facility.
Nursing home staff interacts with their families and other community members, in addition to the nursing home residents. This means nursing home staff become a primary vessel for the COVID-19 virus to enter and spread through facilities, studies suggest.
Check Your Loved One's Facility
You can visit the CMS's COVID-19 Nursing Home Data page to see the percentage of staff and residents in any federally certified nursing home.
You can look for the "Search for a Nursing Home" map and either use the search box or the zoom function to find the long-term care facility you are looking for.
Laura Shallcross, Ph.D., UCL Institute of Health Informatics, UCL, London, wrote in The Lancet Infectious Diseases that even a single dose of the primary vaccines give substantial protection against developing COVID-19 and could prevent its spread through a long-term care facility.
Many Families Prefer In-Home Care
Many in-home care providers and agencies take precautions to make sure their caregivers and the care recipients are safe. There has been an increase in professional in-home health care since the virus crisis started. Experts in the industry believe more people will select in-home health care, a trend that was already forming before the virus crisis began.
Generally, health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, pay little or nothing for long-term health care, leaving families to either pay out-of-pocket or become caregivers unless Long-Term Care Insurance is in place.
Medicaid is available for those with little or no income or assets, but you must use Medicaid providers.