Since the beginning of 2020, it has been clear that the COVID-19 pandemic would test our communities in new and challenging ways. In order to keep our best practices ahead of the curse, JEA Senior Living Communities have been consistently educating themselves in State Regulations, ever-changing guidance from the WHO and CDC, and Vaccination information. Through this process, our teams have been able to persevere through a tremulous period of time, while providing the highest quality care for our residents.
As the COVID-19 vaccines were being developed, the team at Barrington Place Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Clinton, Utah continued to learn all that they could, going above and beyond to educate themselves and their team members about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. With a focus of “leading the charge” in team member vaccinations, Administrator, Dale Parker, and Health Services Director, Cynthia Meacham met with the rest of their community leadership to align their goals and efforts towards the highest team member vaccination rates in the company.
In December with the pending release of the vaccines, along with the prioritization schedule for healthcare workers and long-term care communities, Dale and Cynthia started talking even more with their team members at Barrington about the importance of the vaccine, and their role in helping to end COVID-19. “Our team talked about – and focused on – how sick we were of COVID-19 and how much we all wanted to prioritize the safety of our residents and our each other,” said Dale Parker, Administrator of Barrington Place.
Recognizing the many rumors and misinformation in the media about the COVID-19 vaccines, the team at Barrington decided to take a proactive approach by organizing a Q&A session. “In December we organized a meeting with the team to hear everyone’s thoughts on the vaccine” shared Cynthia Meacham, Health Services Director at Barrington Place. “We talked about some of the vaccine rumors, and by dispelling these, we were able to talk facts about the vaccine and have a positive and productive conversation.”
With the vaccination clinics scheduled and the rumors put to rest, the team at Barrington could have just stopped there. However, they decided to take their COVID-19 vaccine clinics and turn them into an experience for the team. To celebrate their team’s “vaccinated” status they ordered t-shirts with “I am vaccinated” printed on them, which team members are allowed to wear on Fridays as a show of appreciation for protecting their residents. Even more impressive are the themes that their team came up with to add a special flair to their vaccine clinics.
“Our first clinic was all about “Crushing COVID” and had a demolition theme, complete with hardhats, and orange “crush” soda. The team really enjoyed getting dressed up and doing their part to crush COVID. With our second vaccine clinic happening around Valentine’s Day, we decided that we were going to “Kiss COVID Goodbye!”. Both our team members and residents enjoyed these fun themes and celebrating the beginning of the end to COVID-19” said Cynthia.
Thanks to their hard work and incredible efforts, Barrington Place was able to reach a team member vaccination rate of 89.58%. The majority of their team members were vaccinated during their first clinic. When asked how their team felt after reaching nearly 90% of vaccinated team members, the Barrington Team said that they were,” on Cloud 9”.
With such impressive team member participation based on their first vaccination clinic, we wanted to learn the strategies used by Team Barrington that might help others encourage their staff, loved ones, and colleagues to consider receiving the vaccine.
Dale and Cynthia were gracious enough to share the following 3 tips that they believe were instrumental in reaching nearly 90% participation for their team:
- Address rumors and misinformation quickly – stick to the facts
- Open and honest communication – no judging
- Be selfless – especially if you work in the healthcare field
Cynthia had these thoughts to share on encouraging vaccinations among their team, “Working in our industry, we have a higher level of responsibility – and obligation – to care for others. This is a life-and-death situation, especially for our seniors. Reminding the team of these factors and engaging our leadership team, helped make us successful in our vaccination rates.”
Dale confirmed this feedback by sharing, “Educate, Educate, Educate, in a friendly and kind manner. Be united and celebrate the opportunity to receive the vaccine. In addition to educating your whole team, it’s also important to remind them that by choosing to work in long-term care, they made the choice to care for and protect their residents. This means that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is an opportunity and responsibility for them to continue caring for and protecting their residents”.
Thank you, Dale, Cynthia, and the whole team, at Barrington Place for joining our All for One vaccination campaign and for engaging your team around protecting your residents and one another!