Preparing Nursing Home Facilities for the Next Outbreak

June 14th, 2021 | News


Since the pandemic hit, COVID-19 has killed more than 184,000 residents and staff of US nursing homes and assisted living facilities, making up almost a third of the U.S.’s COVID-19 death toll.

The national effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in these was essential. As part of this, JSI, in partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchock and the New Hampshire Citizens Health Initiative at the University of New Hampshire Institute for Health Policy and Practice, joined Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), a nationwide training program that equips staff with the tools to protect both residents and themselves. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality ECHO National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network hosted a 16-week training program from November to March, bringing in regional experts to help nursing homes adapt. A second, 15-session phase of the program began on May 13 and will run through August.

Topics covered during the first phase included cleaning, personal protective equipment, vaccine rollout and hesitancy, managing outbreaks, supporting staff emotionally, social isolation, community transmission, advanced care planning, preparing for visitation, leadership, and communication.

“Nursing home staff experienced a deeply challenging time, personally and professionally,” said Margaret Franckhauser, director of Aging Services. “This project has given them a place to learn, share, and reimagine processes and systems for the future. This new phase of the project continues that dialogue. The ECHO model of ‘All Teach/All Learn’ has proven to be a rich environment for learning in the ever-changing environment of a pandemic.”

Learn more about Project ECHO.

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