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Wyte-Lake T, Manheim C, Gillespie SM, Dobalian A, Haverhals LM. COVID-19 Vaccination in VA Home Based Primary Care: Experience of Interdisciplinary Team Members. Journal of The American Medical Directors Association. 2022 Jun 1; 23(6):917-922.
OBJECTIVES: Describe how Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) team members discussed the COVID-19 vaccine with Veteran patients and their caregivers; describe HBPC team members'' experiences providing care during the pandemic; identify facilitators and barriers to vaccinating HBPC Veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic. DESIGN: Online survey that included 3 open-ended COVID-19 vaccine-related questions. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: HBPC Program Directors from 145 VA Medical Centers were invited to participate and share the survey invitation with team members. The survey was open from March to May 2021. We collected N = 573 surveys from 73 sites. METHODS: We analyzed demographic data using descriptive frequencies and open-ended questions using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Respondents from all HBPC roles were included in the study: Registered Nurses, Psychologists, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners, Social Workers, Dieticians, Occupational Therapists, Pharmacists, Physical Therapists, HBPC Program Directors, HBPC Medical Directors, MDs, Physician Assistants, Other. Qualitative thematic analysis revealed 3 themes describing VA HBPC team members'' experiences discussing and administering the COVID-19 vaccine: communication and education, advocating for prioritization of HBPC Veterans to receive the vaccine, and logistics of delivering and administering the vaccine. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Our study findings highlight the multifaceted experiences of VA HBPC team members discussing and administering initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to primarily homebound Veterans. Although the VA''s HBPC program offers an example of a singular health care system, insights from more than 70 sites from across the United States reveal key lessons around the internal and external structures required to successfully support programs and their staff in providing these key activities. These lessons include proactively addressing the needs of homebound populations in national vaccine rollouts and developing vaccine education and training programs for HBPC team members specifically aligned to HBPC program needs. These lessons can extend to non-VA organizations who care for similar homebound populations.