WF-WC Health District hopes to begin vaccinating homebound seniors soon | #hospice | #elderly | #seniors
WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Some patients in home health care and hospice, who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine, may soon be getting one.
The Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District and the Texas Association of Home Care & Hospice are working with the Texas National Guard and the state division of emergency management to administer vaccines to homebound seniors and their caregivers.
County officials say they don’t have the number of vaccines or manpower to administer vaccines in homes. That’s why they and home care services like Wichita Home Health Services are excited the national guard is lending a huge helping hand.
Last month, Governor Greg Abbott launched a statewide save our seniors initiative that would vaccinate homebound seniors. The initiative would deploy the Texas National Guard to assist with registering homebound seniors and administering vaccines.
“The one thing we have not been able to do is to serve those individuals who are at home and unable to leave their home,” Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District Director of Health Lou Kreidler said. “We’ve had calls from Meals on Wheels and other organizations wanting us to do that and we as the health department simply aren’t getting the number of vaccines available to us to be able to do that.”
State statutes limit home care and hospice agencies from administering vaccines but this initiative will give the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District assistance from the National Guard in getting to those seniors.
To change the statute, House Bill 797 has been filed to be considered by the state legislature. Officials with the Texas Association for Home Care & Hospice will give their statement in hopes that home care and hospice workers will be able to administer the vaccine themselves.
“And that’s why the health department right now is having to come in and unfortunately get a little more put on them whereas again we could really help a lot with our educating and vaccinating our senior population that we serve,” Wichita Home Health Services administrator and TAHC&H representative Chrystal Everett said.
If the bill were to pass, Everett says her staff would move forward with immediate education. And although most of Wichita Home Health’s staff is vaccinated, getting the vaccine would be a relief to home health and hospice patients.
“Being able to provide it in the home is an amazing opportunity for us. Either way, right now, we’re gonna do what it takes to make sure Wichita County and surrounding counties as we proceed outward do get that vaccination,” Everett said.
Moving outward and hopefully forward as an underrepresented population looks to be getting the help they need.
Health officials said the goal is to get this initiative started in Wichita County this week with the Texas National Guard.