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CMS Announces New COVID-19 Training Program for Nursing Homes


August 25, 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a new training program for frontline nursing home staff and nursing home management. The program, called the “CMS Targeted COVID-19 Training for Frontline Nursing Home Staff and Management,” equips frontline caregivers and their management with proper knowledge for stopping the spread of COVID-19 within their facilities.

According to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, MPH, “CMS is taking unprecedented action to ensure that nursing homes are doubling down on efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. This national training program is just the latest example of our coordinated and aggressive response to this unprecedented situation.”

The program is available immediately for the 15,400 Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes. Topics of the program focus on the following:

  • infection control and prevention;
  • appropriate screening of visitors;
  • effective cohorting of residents;
  • safe admission and transfer of residents; and
  • proper use of personal protective equipment.

According to the agency, there is a tailored course that “incorporates the most recent lessons learned from nursing homes and teaches frontline staff best practices they can implement to address issues related to COVID-19.”

For frontline staff, the training is called, “CMS Targeted COVID-19 Training for Frontline Nursing Home Staff.” It covers the following topics:

  • Module 1: Hand Hygiene and PPE
  • Module 2: Screening and Surveillance
  • Module 3: Cleaning the Nursing Home
  • Module 4: Cohorting
  • Module 5: Caring for Residents with Dementia in a Pandemic

For management, the training is called, “CMS Targeted COVID-19 Training for Nursing Home Management.” This training covers the following:

  • Module 1: Hand Hygiene and PPE
  • Module 2: Screening and Surveillance
  • Module 3: Cleaning the Nursing Home
  • Module 4: Cohorting
  • Module 5: Caring for Residents with Dementia in a Pandemic
  • Module 6: Basic Infection Control
  • Module 7: Emergency Preparedness and Surge Capacity
  • Module 8: Addressing Emotional Health of Residents and Staff
  • Module 9: Telehealth for Nursing Homes
  • Module 10: Getting Your Vaccine Delivery System Ready

The design of the program was influenced by finding of federal nursing home task force strike teams. Experts from both the CMS and CDC visited nursing homes that had active COVID-19 outbreaks over the summer.

“The strike teams learned that while current regulations were designed to protect the health and safety of residents, the pandemic created an urgent need to directly assist frontline workers with more focused training and guidance than has been used in the past,” CMS explained in a press release.

“President Trump has directed us to deploy every resource available to ensure nursing homes are prepared, educated, and ready to keep all our seniors safe from this highly contagious, dangerous disease,” Ms Verma noted.

The agency also noted that they will have subject matter experts from both the CMS and CDC available on bi-weekly webinars from August 27, 2020, through January 7, 2021, from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. ET, to answer questions.

Julie Gould  

Reference:

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Trump Administration Launches National Training Program to Strengthen Nursing Home Infection Control Practices [press release]. https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/trump-administration-launches-national-training-program-strengthen-nursing-home-infection-control. CMS website. August 25, 2020.

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