By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville’s Trager Institute has been chosen to act as a training center for nursing homes in the newly formed National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network, says a U of L Health Sciences News report.

The Network is in collaboration with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Project ECHO and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). The initiative will serve to provide training to nursing homes to increase evidence-based infection prevention and safety practices to protect residents and staff.

The network launched in part due to nearly a quarter of known COVID-19 deaths in the United States being nursing home residents and staff.

According to the U of L Health Sciences news article, “more than 150 nursing homes already have enrolled to participate in the Trager Institute’s network training hub, including all of Trilogy Health Services’ senior living communities. The institute’s goal is to enroll as many nursing homes as possible in the network, focusing particularly on facilities in Kentucky.”

As part of the network, the U of L Trager Institute will provide free training and mentorship to nursing homes to aid in the network’s mission of enhancing evidence-based safety practices.

The goals of the action network include: preventing coronavirus from entering nursing homes where it hasn’t been detected, identifying residents and staff who have been infected with COVID-19, preventing the spread of the virus among staff, residents and visitors and providing safe and appropriate care to residents with mild and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19.

In addition, the network will train participating members to ensure staff members have the ability to implement best-practice safety measures to protect residents and themselves and will work to reduce social isolation for residents, families and staff.

The training will occur over a 16-week time frame following the Project ECHO model. According to Project ECHO’s website, the ECHO model is best described as a guided telemonitoring practice model where the participating clinician retains responsibility for managing the patient.

“Nursing homes are in critical condition when it comes to fighting COVID-19, not to mention the social isolation their residents have been experiencing throughout the pandemic,” Anna Faul, project director and executive director of the Trager Institute, said in the release.

“Providing a training program that not only follows the same collaborative, integrative approach we advocate at the Trager Institute, but also gives nursing home staff the shared knowledge and best practices they need to provide safe care while reducing social isolation for residents, is exactly the type of health care improvement we need for the older adult community.”

Participating nursing homes will receive $6,000 in compensation and a Quality Improvement Certificate. This certificate will allow these facilities to receive a portion of the $2 billion afforded to nursing homes under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

More information about the partnership can be found here.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal