More than 1,900 Staff, Residents and Caregivers Vaccinated at Embrace Living

Staff, residents and caregivers began receiving vaccines Jan. 11.

Embrace Living Communities, based in Oak Brook, Ill., is having a successful COVID-19 vaccination campaign. To date, 1,917 residents, staff and caregivers have received the vaccine through Embrace Living’s clinics, with just under 70 percent of residents electing to be vaccinated. The oldest resident to receive the vaccination was 104. The success of the vaccination clinics is due to the careful planning and participation from staff and residents.

Embrace Living’s COVID-19 vaccination plan began in October 2020 when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control announced the its vaccine prioritization details, and the communities fell into the first category of people eligible for vaccination.

Thanks to pharmacy partnerships with Walgreens and CVS, vaccinations began Jan. 11, 2021, in Chicago and Missouri communities, Jan. 16 in Florida, and Jan. 28 in suburban Chicago locations.

Residents learned how to sign up for vaccines via flyers passed out to every resident, as well as additional follow-up phone calls from social service coordinators. The flyer recommended that residents have conversations with their families and physicians to discuss whether receiving the vaccine was the right step for them.

“The health and safety of our residents and employees remains our paramount concern, and I’m pleased with our participation effort,” says Ralph Gaines, Embrace Living CEO. “Although we do not have a defined date yet, these results will go a long way in helping us return to a more normal pre-COVID environment at all of our communities.”

Each community had strict processes and protocols in place to protect residents and staff. This meant maintaining six feet of distance where possible, managing crowds through scheduling and having Embrace Living staff sanitize surfaces and seating between vaccinations.

“Residents really were very appreciative, and their gratitude overflowed,” says Jennifer Truppa, Embrace Living’s director of social services and quality assurance. “Coordinators indicated hat this was the most rewarding program that they had ever offered to residents … The residents had been sheltered in place for nine months at that point, and they only went out when it was absolutely necessary. At the time they were received the vaccines, their doctors weren’t even able to offer them, so this was an opportunity for them to return to some sort of normalcy in their eyes.”

One of the biggest imperatives Truppa and the team at Embrace Living stressed through these clinics was maintaining the dignity of residents. This meant encouraging residents to wear short-sleeved shirts or clothing that allowed for easy access to the upper arm to administer the vaccine so they didn’t have to disrobe. Another was to ensure that clinics were convenient and easily accessible for residents. Embrace Living staff was intentional in controlling the flow of traffic in a way that kept residents safe and made it clear where residents were supposed to be at any given point during the vaccination process. Residents who did not receive a vaccination at one of the clinics and want one can still schedule an appointment with one of the social service coordination teams.

“This is a blessing, and I feel so fortunate to be able to receive this vaccination now,” said one resident. “Others are placed on a wait list, but because Embrace Living brought it here, I am so thankful to all of you.”

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