With Week 3 of the 16-week Project ECHO initiative nearing completion, 300 nursing facilities from across the Commonwealth have been participating in this nationwide training program to help keep COVID-19 from spreading in nursing homes and to prepare and equip staff so that they can better protect residents and themselves.
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."
The 300 nursing facilities are 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.
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.