Dayton nursing home gets 100% COVID-19 vaccine participation

The administrator calls for state relief to help motivate vaccinations.

A Dayton nursing home had 100% of workers and residents participate in the COVID-19 vaccination program — a rare achievement when many long-term care workers are hesitant to get the vaccine at this time.

Grafton Oaks Rehabilitation and Nursing Center Administrator Lisa Hamilton said the effort took a personal approach, not just handing out a copy of information.

“It was a lot of talking, a lot of one-on-one talks, a lot of walking around with the medical director and answering questions, and a lot of: ‘This is how we get to the other side. This is how we get to taking off our gowns, and our mask and our shields and being able to have a normal day again,’” Hamilton said.

Grafton Oaks, located at 405 Grafton Ave. in Dayton, hasn’t had a COVID-19 resident case yet, even as the pandemic has raged.

Nursing homes, assisted livings and other long-term care facilities have struggled to keep the respiratory virus at bay because it can enter facilities through a staff member not even aware they are sick and quickly spread among close quartered and medically vulnerable residents.

Grafton has a census of about 70 residents and about 110 to 115 staff and contractors all eligible for vaccines.

Hamilton said she had a sign up sheet and initially about 75% of staff were on board and she put her focus on the other 25%.

Like all nursing homes, they test twice a week and Hamilton said she’s there every test day and that gave her an opportunity to talk one-on-one with staff and answer their questions. She talked about misinformation on Facebook and how she was planning to get the vaccine herself.

She said she spelled out pros and cons, and highlighted the personal benefits of getting vaccinated.

“You can have all the government entities in the world talking to them, but it’s another thing saying ‘Hey, here’s what you get to do,’ and making it personal,” Hamilton said.

For now, it’s still mostly business as usual at the nursing home. The staff still need the second of two doses of the vaccine, which will be offered on Jan. 18. Pregnant staff also first consulted with their providers, which Hamilton said she encouraged, and will get their first dose at the second clinic. There will be three clinics overall.

To help other facilities with vaccinations, Hamilton said she would like to see regulators spell out ways that things can change if facilities get vaccinated, such as the promise of no more testing, of not having to wear so much PPE, or the return of visitors. Hamilton said she is now supposed to ask workers about what they do on their days off as part of COVID-19 protocols and said it would be motivating for workers to know that could go away with vaccinations.

“Because so far, that hasn’t been offered. There’s been nothing that says, ‘You stepped up and now we’re going to step up for you,’” she said.

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