By Patrick Amar, DOR/PT, Mountain View Rehabilitation & Care, Marysville, WA
Here at Mountain View, we’ve experienced close to 100% facility staff vaccinations, and attribute our success to a couple of key reasons: the scars left on our minds and hearts as we reflect back over the past 13 months that we never want to repeat again, and communication, communication, communication. Looking back, we never thought the virus would hit so close to home. We heard about it in the news from China, but that’s a world away. We were taken by surprise when the first case of COVID-19 in the United States happened here in our backyard in January 2020. Shortly after, the first outbreak also happened in our area; it was just across the county line. Suddenly we were thrust into the epicenter of the virus, and it seemed the whole world was watching how we managed.

We quickly saw the virus spread in a nearby facility, then in another facility, and then in our community, like an uncontrollable wildfire. In June of that year, it finally came on our doorstep. We knew it was just a matter of time. I think the only positive thing about this pandemic is that it brought our team together even closer. We’ve seen the impact that the virus has had on our patients — their health, their emotions, their psyche and not just them, the family members, too, and the staff. This was the main reason why our staff was so determined to do something about this pandemic by way of getting vaccinated.

Another factor in the success of our vaccine rollout was having good education and communication from the get-go. Once the news of the vaccine was even hinted at, Clayton, our ED, was already preparing the staff for its arrival. Information quickly disseminated from the IDT to floor staff. We knew people would have questions, concerns and even doubts. Educational efforts ensued in huddles, staff meetings and therapy meetings. Even our medical director was involved in the education.

I’d also like to thank our clinical partners for the research and the materials provided for our educational efforts. It helped, too, to hear support for the vaccine not just from us, the IDT, but also from other specialists and healthcare providers who are experts in their field. Questions were welcomed freely and answered objectively. I really believe that our staff understood the common goal. The communication and education, coupled with what we’ve been through, were the driving factors of this success — for our patients, our families and our community.