Nursing and rehab center in Boonville proactive on staff vaccinations
BOONVILLE — With a state mandate requiring health care workers to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus by Sept. 27, officials at Sunset Nursing and Rehabilitation Center said they have been pro-active about encouraging employees to get vaccinated and are providing education about the vaccine.
Earlier in the week, Lewis County General Hospital received nationwide media attention when hospital officials reported they were closing its maternity department because of a lack of staff due to resignations from those opposed to being vaccinated.
According to reports, U.S. District Court Judge David N. Hurd, who presides at the federal courthouse in Utica, blocked the state of New York from forcing medical workers to be vaccinated Tuesday, after a group of health care workers sued, saying their Constitutional rights were violated because the state’s mandate disallowed religious exemptions. Judge Hurd issued the order after 17 health professionals, including doctors and nurses, claimed in a lawsuit Monday that their rights were violated with a vaccine mandate that disallowed the exemptions.
Asked Friday what the status was for employees at the nursing home, Sunset Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Administrator Robert Baranello issued the following statement: “As always, Sunset Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is thankful and appreciative of our dedicated team of providers and to those who have recently picked up the torch and joined our team. Even prior to the Sept. 27 vaccination mandate, we have worked closely with our employees to proactively encourage staff to get vaccinated. Since August, our medical directors and clinical staff have hosted numerous meetings to answer questions and provide facts to the employees on a regular basis.”
Baranello said the nursing and rehab center has offered monetary incentives to encourage more employees to get vaccinated.
“In July we rolled out a cash-prize portfolio-wide vaccination campaign titled, ‘Our Best Shot,’ to encourage individuals to get vaccinated or refer a co-worker for the vaccine,” said the administrator. “As of Sept. 1, we’ve begun hosting weekly vaccination campaigns with $1,000 give-aways.”
In addition, Baranello said Sunset inquired with its unvaccinated staff to learn about what was making them hesitant to get the vaccine and created a video to address their questions. He said the video provided clinical data and personal testimonials from fellow co-workers as to why they received the vaccination. The video is playing 24/7 in the facility break room as well as on the facility’s website and social media sites.
“We continue to applaud the staff who have stepped up and assisted in facilitating progressive and creative ways to ensure the health and safety of our residents and fellow team members throughout the pandemic,” Baranello said. “As always, we continue to follow all mandates set forth by the DOH (Department of Health) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and remain in continuous contact with our representatives.”