One of the newest advisory board members to the Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions is alumna Beth Cayce. Cayce, a physical therapy graduate, is CEO of CaraVita Home Care and CaraVita Senior Care (CVSC, LLC), which she founded 22 years ago. Before that, she was president of a national long-term care and rehabilitation company with over 3,300 beds and 250 rehab units and has started three rehabilitation units in Atlanta.
As part of CVSC, she manages Woodland Ridge Assisted Living, a nonprofit assisted living /memory care community in Cobb County. As in almost all long-term care communities, the COVID-19 virus wreaked havoc on Cayce’s clients for nearly a year. But Woodland Ridge has successfully vaccinated 92 percent of its residents and 71 percent of the staff, thanks to a partnership with Physician Pharmacy, a local private pharmacy, who stepped up when previously committed resources from a large national chain fell through.
“Physician’s Pharmacy has always been able to deliver, even on weekends or nights, whenever our staff or clients are available,” said Cayce. The pharmacy also played a large role in vaccinating the CVSC and home care clients who were harder to reach. Today, 82 percent of these clients and 51 percent of the staff has been vaccinated.
Providing access to the vaccinations at off-work hours was vital for the employees, many of whom work more than one job. Offering transportation and access for the home care clients significantly increased that vaccination rate as well.
Cayce says that the staff and residents' testimonies helped bring the employee vaccination rate up from the original low of 35 percent, despite many COVID-19 cases earlier in the year. The leadership team opted not to mandate vaccinations and rely on education and dispelling myths to boost the vaccine rate. They also made vaccination events fun for all.
“We wanted the participants to feel pride and purpose,” said Cayce. “We added the universal encourager-music, laced with high fives such that many of our residents at Woodland Ridge were wanting a photo of themselves rolling up their sleeves to get the shot.”
Cayce says that CVSC and CaraVita believe it takes the whole community together to fight the pandemic. Along with their partner pharmacy, they have reached out to the Roswell and Smyrna communities to facilitate vaccinations.
“We have also helped our sister senior living communities gain access to the vaccine through introducing the private pharmacy to them,” said Cayce. “This helped as we could send some of our staff to their weekend clinic and helped the senior living community that was waiting to be provided vaccines.”
The business community has recognized Cayce for her past work in eldercare. The Atlanta Business Chronicle named her one of the Class of 2018 Women Who Mean Business. She also received the 2014 Health Care Champion Award from the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce and was named 2013 Georgia Small Businessperson of the Year. The Georgia Senior Living Association presented her with the first Beth Cayce Leadership award in 2012.