LEXINGTON, N.C. — For 92-year-old Ruth Everhart, leaving her Lexington home isn’t an option.
She has to rely on caregivers and others to bring her what she needs, and while she may not be the one going out to take care of those necessary errands, her caretakers risk exposure to COVID-19 each time they go out. Then, they run the risk of bringing the virus home to her.
Everhart isn’t alone. There are many people with physical or cognitive limitations that need the protection that the COVID-19 vaccine provides but can’t go out to get it themselves.
That’s why Wake Forest Baptist Health started making house calls.
“This program is just another example of how our health system is looking at creative ways to take care of our patients and keep our community safe,” said Mia Yang, M.D., medical director of the House Call Program and assistant professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Health.
On Thursday, a Wake Forest Baptist geriatrics provider and community pharmacy resident went to Everhart’s home and gave her the first dose of the vaccine.
They sat with her and made sure she didn’t have any adverse reactions.
Then, they set up an appointment for her second, final dose before continuing on their way.
74-year-old Robert Hook, of Winston-Salem, was able to get the same service when Christina Barthen, a community pharmacy resident at Wake Forest Baptist Health, visited his home to give him his first dose.
Through Wake Forest Baptist’s House Call Program, the hospital is looking after homebound patients ages 65 and older amid this pandemic.
“These are some of our most vulnerable patients, they deserve to be protected, and we’re committed to bringing the vaccine to them,” Yang said.