With all the talk of the health care system and its various aspects, not much focus has been shone on family caregivers. While keeping doctors, nurses, on-ground health staff properly protected from the pandemic, most have forgotten the Healthcare workers who operate in the background.
These family caregivers or informal caregivers could be licensed caregivers or aids. They are also termed as an informal caregiver if they are a family member, neighbor, or friend that assists the elderly, children, or those whose health conditions put them at risk of contracting the Coronavirus.
Family Caregivers Should Be Protected Too, Covid 19 Vaccine Is A Must
Their tasks can include but are not limited to those of nurses and healthcare professionals. Those family members or aids who take care of and help the elderly or the disabled fall under this category. The tasks that fall into their spectrum of work include daily activities, personal healthcare, and seeing to medical needs.
The CEO of Caregiver Action Network, John Schall affirms that those who assist by driving patients to their doctor’s appointments, administer IS, or provide immediate care for wounds fall under the term family caregiver. If physical and cognitive health is attended to by the person, they are known as family caregivers.
Concerns have been raised on whether these individuals are receiving protection from the pandemic as well. The question of the hour now is whether the healthcare system has seen fit to prioritize the vaccination of these caregivers as well.
Family caregivers have been put at risk during the pandemic to meet the needs and provide help and care to the disabled and elderly.
According to Terri Harvath, the director of the Family Caregiving Institute located at the University of California Davis, when protection is given to the family caregiver, one can ensure the protection and wellbeing of older patients who are at risk.
Oregon and Massachusetts are some of the few states that have had the foresight to prioritize the vaccination of family caregivers. Apart from these, most of the states have not recognized the necessity of doing the same.
Moreover, caregivers have to meet certain criteria to be considered eligible. The state of California for instance, considers family members of patients with Down Syndrome, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy to be eligible.
Eligibility criteria vary according to each state primarily based on the health conditions of those who are being cared for. For instance, family caregivers in South Carolina who aid children with severe medical conditions are eligible for vaccination. However, this is not the case for adults.
The state of Illinois allows vaccinations of caregivers of the disabled. Whereas in Michigan, family caregivers of those who are Medicaid beneficiaries can get the vaccine.
The U.S. Department of Veterans have made provisions for those caregivers belonging to the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers to get the vaccine.
The CEO of Caregiver Action Network, Schall explained the process of availing the vaccine shot. He suggested that caregivers contact their local healthcare department to find out whether they are eligible for the vaccine. One can also sign up so that they can be notified when they are made eligible.
Drugstores and pharmacies provide forms as well for eligibility updates. One can also call or email the Caregiver Action Network’s help desk.
To make a reservation, one must obtain documentation from the patient or healthcare department explaining the tasks and duties of the caregiver that are performed. One must also confirm their eligibility.
Health care departments of all the states must ensure that every caregiver is vaccinated. By doing so, they safeguard not only the caregivers health but also that of the elderly or disabled patient.