Strategy for Skilled Nursing Facilities: Infection Prevention Education
The need for infection control management and mitigation support in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) is critical to limit the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Health Care Quality (CHCQ) Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) strike team was primarily focused on infection control mitigation activities in hospitals. In addition, approximately 600 Health Facility Evaluator Nurses provided infection prevention consultation, assessment, and enforcement in SNFs during the annual state and federal survey process.
CHCQ is taking proactive steps to assist SNFs with infection control to improve safety and quality of care in the following ways:
• Recruited additional HAI strike team nurses in January 2020, provided training in specialized infectious disease prevention and control guidance, and expanded the HAI strike team focus to congregate setting-based facilities;
• Redirected 600 Health Facility Evaluator Nurses since February 2020, to provide more comprehensive infection control education, in addition to ongoing monitoring and enforcement, through increased onsite visits to support SNFs on their infection control plans and implementation;
• Provide specialized, competency-based infectious disease prevention and control guidance training to all CHCQ Health Facility Evaluator Nurses, which complements the comprehensive infection prevention training provided as part of their initial year-long onboarding.
This specialized training focuses on COVID-19-specific infection prevention and control guidance, and will equip Health Facility Evaluator Nurses with additional evidence-based tools and knowledge to perform more robust infection prevention assessment and consultation in SNFs. This 32-hour training consists of a Centers for Disease Control online course and HAI program self-study curriculum, interactive webinars, and a competency assessment. Health Facility Evaluator Nurses are required to complete each component and the COVID-19-specific scenario-based assessment to successfully pass the infectious disease training.
CHCQ will measure training outcomes through participant tracking, competency assessments, and post-survey training feedback. The infectious disease training is currently underway, and all CHCQ Health Facility Evaluator Nurses will be fully trained by August 2020.