With the much-anticipated release of a COVID-19 vaccine this month, people across the country are eager to learn when they will be allowed to get vaccinated. Few groups are more in need of vaccination than nursing home residents. The pandemic hit nursing homes hardest of all, leading to at least 100,000 deaths. Hopefully, with adequate vaccinations, the worst of the pandemic’s impact will be over. However, there are still numerous challenges ahead.
Multiple Challenges in Getting COVID-19 Vaccines for Nursing Home Residents
Nursing homes do not have the best track record when it comes to taking care of their residents. While some facilities are known for giving sufficient care and attention to patients, many have been cited multiple times for failure to meet basic state guidelines related to care. That’s why organizations that fight nursing home abuse, like Carlson Injury Law, are watching carefully to see how the vaccination process is implemented for these vulnerable members of society.
Thus far, at least two significant challenges have been identified and discussed in news publications. These include:
Confusion About Initial Rollout
Once it was announced that vaccines would be available for those most in need, the assumption was that nursing home residents would be some of the first on the list. However, there has been some delay in the rollout due to logistical issues. Most long-term care facilities decided to participate in the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care program. This program partners with pharmacy chains, including Walgreens and CVS, to get residents and staff vaccinated.
For jurisdictions that chose to use the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, the program will begin on Dec. 21. For jurisdictions that chose to use Moderna’s vaccine, the program will begin on Dec. 28.
Those in charge of the federal program claim that the late start date for the vaccinations is due to the complexities in preparing facilities and establishing a supply line for the vaccines.
Difficulties Getting Consent
Another major challenge discussed in the news is the difficulty some nursing homes are having getting consent. Residents at long-term care facilities need to consent before the staff can give them vaccines. Unfortunately, some residents suffer from dementia and are unable to legally give consent to vaccination. That means that the staff needs to get consent from a family member or whoever has been designated.
Sometimes consent can be obtained from a phone call. But other times, it can require going through multiple layers of the family before the right person can be found.
Fighting Nursing Home Abuse in Utah
At Carlson Injury Law, we are hopeful that all nursing home residents can get vaccinated as soon as possible. But we also know that some nursing homes are going to fail in their duty to get residents vaccinated. Nursing homes that neglect patients or abuse patients may not prioritize vaccinations for COVID-19.
If you suspect that your family member or loved one is being neglected or abused at a nursing home, please contact our firm. Fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (801) 845-4577 today.