MASSACHUSETTS SENIOR CARE ASSOCIATION AND HEBREW SENIORLIFE TO LEAD 300 NURSING HOMES IN NATIONWIDE INITIATIVE TO FIGHT COVID-19 INFECTION IN NURSING HOMES
Massachusetts Senior Care Association and Hebrew SeniorLife are collaborating in a nationwide training program to help keep COVID-19 from spreading in area nursing homes and to prepare and equip staff so that they can better protect residents and themselves. This is an essential nationwide initiative in the fight against COVID-19.
The program is part of the National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network supported by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and Project ECHO. Massachusetts Senior Care Association and Hebrew SeniorLife are participating in the Network as an official “Hub,” responsible for training nursing homes across Massachusetts in infection control.
"We are pleased to have 300 nursing homes join Massachusetts Senior Care and Hebrew SeniorLife for the National Nursing Home COVID-19 Network. We are bringing together nursing home staff, leaders in long-term care, physicians, and experts in infection control and gerontology to share best practices and build upon the great progress nursing homes have made in containing the spread of the virus. Nursing homes and their staff have been on the frontlines of this pandemic and have worked diligently to provide professional, high quality, compassionate care to the vulnerable population they care for," said Tara Gregorio, President, Massachusetts Senior Care Association. "Bringing this kind of additional support will enhance our infection control efforts."
Lewis A. Lipsitz, M.D., Director, Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research & Chief Academic Officer, Hebrew SeniorLife, said, “Nursing homes, which were particularly hit hard during the spring surge of COVID-19, continue to work hard to stop the spread of COVID-19. While there has been an increase in cases this fall, recent reports indicate the spread is primarily in households, not nursing homes or other senior living facilities. This shows promising progress. Nursing homes need to remain ever vigilant, ever learning about ways to reduce risk and protect their patients and staff. Together with the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, the State’s nursing homes, and academic medical centers, we look forward to building a learning community in the Commonwealth in which we learn from each other how to prevent the entry and spread of this devastating virus in our vulnerable long-term care population.”
The 300 nursing facilities will be cohorted into 9 groups, each led by a clinician and a nursing home operator. As a designated training center, the Massachusetts COVID-19 Infection Control Hub will also provide rapid response consultation for any nursing home that experiences a sudden increase in COVID-19.
This program has six goals:
- Keep the virus from entering nursing homes.
- Find out early if residents and staff have been infected.
- Prevent the spread of the virus to staff, residents, and visitors.
- Provide safe and appropriate care to residents with mild and asymptomatic cases.
- Ensure staff have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to implement best-practice safety measures to protect residents and themselves.
- Reduce social isolation for residents, families, and staff.
To do this, the National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network embraces an “all teach, all learn” philosophy in which nursing home participants both receive expertise from renowned experts and learn from their peers. The Massachusetts COVID-19 Infection Control Hub will lead 16 virtual learning sessions with nursing home teams in nine simultaneous cohorts. Each session is designed to be interactive—to hear from nursing home staff about the challenges they are facing and provide practical solutions. Each session will include a brief lecture or lesson paired with case presentations and discussion, followed by a Q&A forum.
All Medicare and Medicaid eligible nursing homes are invited to join this free, voluntary program. The National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network will provide a $6,000 stipend to each facility for successful completion of the program and a certificate of completion for participating individuals. Nursing homes interested in participating or have questions regarding enrollment, can please contact Jennifer Chen at JChen@maseniorcare.org.
About Hebrew SeniorLife:
Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is a national senior services leader uniquely dedicated to rethinking, researching, and redefining the possibilities of aging. Based in Boston, the nonprofit organization has provided communities and health care for seniors, research into aging, and education for geriatric care providers since 1903. For more information about Hebrew SeniorLife, visit https://www.hebrewseniorlife.org or our blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The Massachusetts Senior Care Association represents a diverse set of organizations that deliver a broad spectrum of services to meet the needs of older adults and people with disabilities. Its members include more than 400 nursing and rehabilitation facilities, assisted living residences, residential care facilities, and continuing care retirement communities. Forming a crucial link in the continuum of care, Mass. Senior Care facilities provide housing, health care, and support services to more than 100,000 people a year; employ more than 50,000 staff members; and contribute more than $3.5 billion annually to the Massachusetts economy. For more information about Mass Senior Care Association, visit www.maseniorcare.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Margaret Bonilla for Hebrew SeniorLife
Kate Kahn for the Massachusetts Senior Care Association