Topeka nursing homes speak out about staff vaccination mandate – WIBW

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -A federal database tracks vaccination rates for every nursing home in the country.

Among the nursing homes in Topeka, only one has a 100% rate of its staff vaccinated the lowest is 25%.

The top five with the highest rates are McCrite Plaza, Topeka Presbyterian Manor, Rolling Hills, Brighton Place North and West.

Getting the Covid vaccine may no longer be an option for staff at nursing and rehab centers, the Biden administration ordered all active staff to get the vaccine in order for their facilities to receive federal funding.

“Hospitals, rehab therapists, and all of those types of employees are in contact with seniors and at-risk folks all the time so we would really love to encourage everyone to do this and in fact, we think Bidens order is great,” said Ali Ellis.

But Cassidy McCrite knows not all employees will agree.

“Covid 19 affects you know 65 and over and more than any other age group and that is the people we take of, but then there is a piece of me too that thinks what will happen to some of our staff, there are people that have been so excited to get the vaccine and there are some that are I’m never going to get one period,” he said.

Staff and management are awaiting specific guidelines before enforcing the order, they hope it doesn’t result in staffing shortages.

“The guidelines will be really important to us, it will tell us the timeline for this because it won’t be immediate, they have to put a lot of planning procedures in place,” Ellis said.

“If staff members do refuse to get the vaccine, unfortunately, they will not be able to work in our facilities”.

McCrite says regardless of a staff member’s vaccination status– everyone is still following safety protocols.

“There has not been one time since Covid that a worker can give care without a mask on, vaccinated our not, both the previous administration and the one now continue to ship us rapid tests that we use, so we can rapidly test visitors and providers as they come in and staff and that has been really vital in early detection,” said McCrite.

McCrite says residents’ safety is the main priority.

“To stay in the business you have to really care for the elderly and it has to be your calling so they have always been the priority and because they are the ones in which we serve,” he said.

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