Skilled nursing facilities were one of the first in leading the vaccine rollouts. Consulate Health Care has discovered that word-of-mouth encouragement by staff has played an important role in getting buy-in from the residents and staff. The Florida based Consulate at the Maitland, which is comprised of 140 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, claims that Florida had the quickest rollout of vaccines in long-term care facilities.
Skilled Nursing News interviewed some of the executives of Consulate to discuss their experience with the vaccine rollout. Florida was one of the first states to have the vaccines available after emergency use was approved by the federal government. The leadership team at Consulate led the efforts at their facilities to educate potential recipients. They provided educational materials to employees, residents and families to help them make an informed decision. There was open communication to address any hesitations and concerns that individuals had regarding the safety of the vaccine. They used different platforms to communicate the safety which included social media, print materials, videos, text messages and weekly calls. Weekly town hall meetings were led by medical professionals including physicians.
After the first-dose vaccinations, there was an increase in the number of staff members getting vaccinated at the second-dose clinic. Those who had opted out at the first-dose felt more comfortable after seeing their colleagues, residents and families experience very few side effects. Aligning with New York, Florida also saw larger numbers of residents willingly getting vaccinated compared to staff. However, Consulate staff became increasingly more willing to receive the vaccinations after being educated a few weeks after the rollout. Additionally, leadership took the initiative to get vaccinated to encourage staff members and to lead by example.