How Nursing Homes Are Handling COVID-19 Best Practices from Maryland and Massachusetts

States and localities across the U.S. are seeking effective ways to provide high-quality care to as many nursing home patients as is possible without transporting them to the hospital, while ensuring nursing home staff have the appropriate personal protective equipment and are trained how to use, and how to implement infection prevention and control measures on site. This webinar from the National Academy of Sciences highlighted how the states of Maryland and Massachusetts are addressing a number of challenges in nursing homes, including staffing shortages, expanding access to COVID-19 testing, and maintaining transparent communications with residents’ families and the public. Nursing home residents who exhibit symptoms of the COVID-19 virus are often taken immediately to the hospital, which may lack the capacity to provide appropriate care for them. Often they are not allowed to return to the nursing home for fear of spreading the infection to other vulnerable residents and staff. The webinar highlights innovative approaches to address these complex challenges that are currently being implemented in the state of Maryland. The collaborative approach involves health care professionals at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the state department of health, emergency medicine professionals, and newly formed “strike teams” made up of members of the National Guard. Access slides at https://www.nationalacademies.org/event/04-22-2020/keeping-nursing-home-residents-and-staff-safe-in-the-era-of-covid-19-a-webinar * or https://www.nationalacademies.org/event/04-22-2020/docs/D20B4F2AD00C95EC8FA23857D28DE0FB6C87B4736573 * The State of Massachusetts has leveraged existing programs such as ombudsman and has created new temporary processes to support long-term care facilities during the pandemic. Massachusetts has launched a long-term care portal to match individuals who have registered through the portal with the staffing requests submitted by the long-term care facilities. The state is also holding weekly calls with long term care facilities, where it hears firsthand about structural challenges, including staffing, PPE and supports needed. Access more information at https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-announces-new-funding-outlines-ongoing-steps-to-support-long-term *
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