Providing Covid safety and protection has been Keystone Care’s mission from the start. Last Spring, Keystone Care teamed up with the School District of Springfield Township and administered first and second vaccines to more than 500 students, as well as vaccinating students at Saint Genevieve School in Flourtown and Our Mother of Consolation in Chestnut Hill.
Keystone Care in Wyndmoor, a nonprofit organization offering hospice, palliative and home care, is taking a leadership role in fighting Covid. “Many people may know us because of our 25-year history of service to hospice and home care patients. Now we want them to know about all we are doing to test and vaccinate adults and children,” said Executive Director Gail A. Inderwies, RN, BSN, MBA.
Last Spring, Keystone Care teamed up with the School District of Springfield Township and administered first and second vaccines to more than 500 students, as well as vaccinating students at Saint Genevieve School in Flourtown and Our Mother of Consolation in Chestnut Hill. As soon as vaccines for children under twelve are approved, Keystone Care will return to the schools.
“It’s not going to be soon enough to vaccinate younger kids,” she said. “We are hoping to start in early November. We have cartoon Band-aids and little toy bees that make a buzzing noise to distract children from the needles.”
Inderwies’ passion for protecting the community from Covid comes from personal experience. “Some of my staff have lost family members and I got Covid in 2020 before vaccines were available. It’s nothing you want to play around with,” she said. “I wear a mask whenever I am indoors. I am not ready to take it off yet, and I don’t care what people think.”
Dr. Lauren Patterson-Davis, Director of Support Services at the School District of Springfield Township, said, “Gail had been on our School Board years ago and we were excited to work with her again. When she offered, we jumped at the opportunity to partner. Last May, when the vaccine was approved for children twelve and older, we announced we would be offering a vaccination clinic, our slots filled up within three days. Keystone Care provided the staff for the first round of vaccines which were done via a drive-thru. For the second round in June, they moved vaccinations to our gym due to a thunderstorm.”
“Any mandates for vaccination would need to come from health agencies. Our Superintendent, Dr. Yannacone shared at a recent School Board meeting that approximately 95% of our staff and approximately 80% of students over twelve are vaccinated,” said Patterson-Davis. “If the vaccine is approved for children under twelve, we will open additional spots for our next clinic since we will have more eligible students in that age range.” Meanwhile, all schools in the District observe social distancing and masking.
Providing Covid safety and protection has been Keystone Care’s mission from the start. “We have offered Covid testing since April 2020. Starting in April 2021, we began administering the vaccine to our patients, particularly the homebound, staff, and anyone in the community who needed it. As of October 15th, 100% of Keystone Care’s staff is vaccinated and I will not hire anyone who isn’t.” said Inderwies, “There are a lot of people who can’t get out of their house. We provide testing and vaccines to the homebound in Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Lower Montgomery and Lower Bucks County.”
While the 19118 Zip Code has the lowest Covid rate in the city, the current rate of contagion remains high. In Philadelphia, 2,000 people each week are infected with Covid. In Montgomery County, 1,200 are infected weekly. In spite of efforts by the Department of Health, 30% of Philadelphians remain unvaccinated. Keystone Care’s continued outreach to homebound patients and unvaccinated adults and children throughout the region play an important part in conquering this deadly pandemic.
In addition to their 19-bed inpatient hospice, Keystone Care offers home care for patients who have been recently hospitalized, have chronic conditions, or for those who need assistance with daily activities or require skilled nursing care.
For more than 20 years, Keystone Care has been helping men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS. Their caregivers understand how the disease affects patients physically and emotionally. They have a history of providing respectful and supportive care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients.
Keystone Care Covid testing, vaccinations and boosters are available twice a week by appointment at their drive-up clinic at 8765 Stenton Avenue. Test results are available within 24 hours. For more information, call (215) 836-2440.