How a health care facility handles vaccine hesitancy

BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT) – Employers can require vaccinations, but not all health care facilities require it.

Hillcrest Health Services meets those hesitant employees head-on. One woman was relieved to hear what happens behind closed doors as her mother receives treatment.

“It makes me feel much more comfortable,” Marla Rohrke said. Her mother is rehabbing a broken femur.

The two made plans for a visitation this week, but then Marla got a phone call.

“They had to cancel the visitation because someone had come down with Covid,” Marla said. “I did ask the person who called me, ‘well, was it a staff member?’ and she said, ‘yes.’”

Not all businesses require employees to get vaccinated. Some do, some don’t — which includes Hillcrest, according to a spokesperson. But when it comes to vaccine-hesitant employees, they meet that challenge head-on.

“I think it’s really important to get and understand why they’re hesitant and what their concerns are about the vaccine because it’s a very personal decision to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Anthony Hatcher, Hillcrest’s chief medical officer.

Not every health care facility is fortunate to fully employ a chief medical officer. Dr. Hatcher is the one who sits down with uncertain employees.

“So we want to know exactly what their hesitancy is and answer their questions so they can at least make an educated decision,” he said. “Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about vaccinations and what they can cause, and what they can do, and the side effects.”

The doctor says misinformation and side effects are the two concerns that come up most with the minority of employees.

Hillcrest touts its staff vaccination is 80 percent. A spokesperson says 98 percent of residents are vaccinated for an added layer of protection. Those numbers make a family member like Marla more confident in where her mother is getting care.

“That does make me feel better,” she said.

In an email to families, Hillcrest says it suspended indoor visits for 14 days and increased testing. Info about continuing visits will be shared if it finds no further exposure.

Copyright 2021 WOWT. All rights reserved.

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