TLC Healthcare immunisation nurses are holding daily COVID-19 vaccine clinics to ensure all 1,500 residents and 2,000 staff and contractors across the provider’s 11 homes are vaccinated in coming weeks, the CEO tells Australian Ageing Agenda.
TLC Healthcare CEO Lou Pascuzzi said the provider is on track to complete all vaccinations within a fortnight.
“Our team of immunisation nurses are visiting our homes every weekday from now until May 4 to ensure that we meet our target date,” Mr Pascuzzi told AAA.
He said TLC Healthcare offered in February to administer 7,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to their residents, staff and contractors themselves to speed up the rollout.
“The Department were very receptive to the idea and TLC was able to meet their rigorous clinical and reporting criteria,” Mr Pascuzzi said.
“Not only has this resulted in a faster roll-out of the vaccine to our residents, staff and contractors; but it has also freed up the Department of Health’s immunisation teams to visit other aged care homes who are not in a similar position.”
The Federal Government’s rollout of the vaccine in aged care is running behind schedule after an initial target of reaching 183,000 residents and 339,000 staff at more than 2,600 residential aged care facilities in first six weeks starting 22 February (read more here).
However, as of 18 April, the beginning of week nine, 172,351 vaccines have been delivered to aged care facilities including 112,000 first doses, and 59,000 second doses, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer for Australia Professor Alison McMillan told a press conference on Sunday.
TLC Healthcare was in a position to take the opportunity to administer the vaccines because it has collocated primary health care clinics with resident GP’s and qualified immunisation nurses on staff.
“We have community medical centres located at each of our residential aged care homes; so we have the facilities, experience and expertise to deliver vaccination programs,” he said.
The provider has a 91.25 per cent uptake of the vaccine across the organisation’s 11 homes, TLC said.
There have been no complications with the rollout so far, Mr Pascuzzi said.
“Everything has progressed extremely smoothly; the Department of Health and their carrier, DHL, have done a fantastic job of making sure that our Pfizer vaccines are delivered on-time each morning,” he said.
Mr Pascuzzi said it was important for TLC Healthcare to take over the administering of the vaccine to assure their residents and staff and reduce the risk of any outbreaks in Winter.
“I didn’t want my staff and residents to endure another winter of nervousness and trepidation regarding this virus,” he said.
He encouraged other aged care providers to be proactive in exploring options available.
“My advice to other aged care providers is not to sit back and wait for others to provide care to your residents; providers must be proactive and in control of their own clinical care,” Mr Pascuzzi said.
However, he said TLC does not have the resources to provide vaccination programs to other aged care providers at this time.
“On completion of our COVID-19 vaccination program, our immunisation team will be commencing our influenza vaccination program which will be completed by May 24,” he said.
Main image: TLC’s medical team conducting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Forest Lodge.