It is no secret that Coronavirus is affecting everyone in our society. Particularly at risk are those who are residing in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a number of steps that should be taken by nursing home staff and residents to reduce the risk of a COVID-19 infection.
Determine a Point Person
A point person in this scenario is someone who is specifically trained in COVID-19 Guidelines. The current recommendation is to have one person in facilities that have more than one hundred patients. This person should be a full-time employee who shares their knowledge of the current guidelines with patients and staff in the facility.
Report Weekly to NHSN LTCF
The NHSN is the National Healthcare Safety Network Long-term Care Facility has a COVID-19 Module that should be updated weekly. The information that needs to be reported here includes resident and facility impact as well as staff and personnel impact. The facility should also be reporting information on supplies and personal protective equipment. Lastly, ventilator capacity and supplies will need to be reported.
In addition to the facility taking measures to keep staff and patients healthy, the facility also needs to be educating everyone about the guidelines and safety precautions that are being taken. This includes patients, staff, personnel, visitors, and volunteers. It is critical that the staff is reminded not to work when they do not feel well. It is also important to provide information to both staff and patients about how to manage stress and anxiety amidst a pandemic. It may be a good idea to schedule a weekly staff meeting to provide any new updates and refresh the staff on policies and procedures. Additionally, the facility will need to establish a good way to communicate these things with patients. One way to communicate these guidelines is to provide visual reminders about wearing masks, handwashing, and proper coughing procedures.
If a case shows up in the nursing facility, the nursing facility is obligated to share this information with patients and staff for their safety. It is important that the patients and staff know that this information will be disclosed if the situation arises. This creates a feeling of trust and eases anxiety in the facility.