Council on Aging helping to vaccinate homebound older adults
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Paula Smith, Communications Manager
SPRINGDALE, OHIO March 10, 2021 Council on Aging (COA) is working with local health departments to vaccinate homebound individuals who are currently eligible to receive the COVID 19 vaccine in Ohio. Individuals who feel they need to be vaccinated in their homes can contact COA at (513) 721-1025 to be screened for eligibility. Specific eligibility guidelines are provided below.
COA has been advocating for the needs of older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent advocacy efforts have focused on making sure older adults have access to the COVID 19 vaccines that are currently available. Older adults have had difficulty navigating the vaccine registration process and some need transportation to their vaccine appointments. Additionally, for many older individuals, leaving their home to get vaccinated could result in serious physical hardship or present a danger to their health. As a result, COA has been advocating at the state and local level for a process to vaccinate homebound older adults.
“We’ve been helping older adults get vaccinated since Ohio’s Phase 1b vaccination plan went into effect on January 19,” said Ken Wilson, COA’s vice president of program operations. “Since that time, we’ve been working to find a way to vaccinate older adults who cannot leave their homes. Because COA provides in-home care services to homebound older adults in southwestern Ohio, we’re in a good position to identify who in the community needs this service.”
COA worked with local health departments to develop a plan to vaccinate homebound older adults. Using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for vaccinating homebound individuals and a locally-developed screening tool, COA is building a list of individuals who qualify for in-home vaccination in southwestern Ohio. The list includes COA clients who meet this definition, as well as individuals from the community who are not enrolled in a COA program. COA is partnering with United Way of Greater Cincinnati to help identify eligible individuals. Community members may call COA to see if they qualify.
Each week, COA will provide local health departments with a list of homebound individuals in their jurisdiction. Homebound individuals will then be contacted by their health department to schedule a vaccination time.
"Some people think because they're homebound, they're not high-risk, but it's actually quite the opposite," Wilson said. "Most homebound individuals have people who are coming and going from their home - caregivers, home health care and others - which can increase their risk of exposure."
Who is eligible for an in-home vaccination?
Due to provider capacity, in-home vaccinations will be limited to those with the greatest need. Anyone interested in receiving an in-home vaccination must contact Council on Aging to be screened for eligibility. To qualify for an in-home vaccination, an individual must:
- Be an Ohio resident, AND
- Meet the definition of homebound as outlined by the CDC, AND
- Be eligible for vaccination in accordance with Ohio’s COVID-19 vaccination program, AND
- Answer YES to at least one of the following questions:
- Does the individual find it challenging to leave the home for medical appointments, even with assistance from a family member or caregiver?
- Is the individual bedbound and unable to transfer to a wheelchair without impeding individual safety or comfort?
- Does the individual receive health care in their home (visiting physicians, home health, etc.)?
Depending on vaccine availability, caregivers who live in the same home may also be vaccinated.
COA has developed a factsheet regarding this process for service providers who may be in contact with individuals who qualify for in-home vaccinations. The factsheet provides instructions for how to make a referral to COA for someone in need of a homebound vaccination. Click here to access this factsheet.
If an individual is found to be ineligible for in-home vaccination, COA staff will work with them to try to identify another appropriate vaccination method. COA is helping individuals connect with vaccine providers, scheduling appointments when possible, and also arranging for transportation to vaccine appointments.
Older adults who need assistance with COVID 19 vaccinations can contact Council on Aging at (513) 721-1025. COA’s call center is open Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.
About Council on Aging
Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio (COA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing quality of life for older adults, people with disabilities, their families and caregivers. COA promotes choice, independence, dignity and well-being through a range of services that help people remain independent for as long as possible.
COA is a state-designated Area Agency on Aging serving Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Warren counties. One call to COA links people to the wide variety of agencies, information and programs that serve older adults and people with disabilities.
Regional Headquarters: 175 Tri County Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45246 | 513-721-1025 | 800-252-0155 | www.help4seniors.org