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CMS: Trump Administration Launches National Training Program to Strengthen Nursing Home Infection Control Practices

Date: 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

*This is a press release from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Please contact CMS using this contact form or by calling 202.690.6145 if you have an inquiry about this release.

Today, under the leadership of President Trump, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is implementing an unprecedented national nursing home training program for frontline nursing home staff and nursing home management. The training is designed to equip both frontline caregivers and their management with the knowledge they need to stop the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in their nursing homes. The training announced today will be available immediately to staff of America’s 15,400 Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes and focuses on critical topics like infection control and prevention, appropriate screening of visitors, effective cohorting of residents, safe admission and transfer of residents, and the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) – all critical elements of stopping the spread of COVID-19.  President Trump first announced the training in late July as part of the Trump Administration’s unwavering commitment to the safety of American seniors living in nursing homes. The training is only the latest in a long list of decisive actions the Trump Administration has taken to safeguard America’s nursing homes.

“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,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “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 first-of-its kind scenario-based training is called the “CMS Targeted COVID-19 Training for Frontline Nursing Home Staff and Management” and it has been designed specifically with COVID-19 in mind. The program features 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. The training builds upon results of CMS nursing home inspections and the findings of epidemiological experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who work with nursing homes. The design was also influenced by the findings of federal nursing home task force strike teams, through which experts from CMS and CDC were deployed to nursing homes actively battling COVID-19 outbreaks in hot spot areas 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.

Training Specifics

The CMS Targeted COVID-19 Training for Frontline Nursing Home Staff & Management is available now, with five specific modules designed for frontline clinical staff and 10 designed for nursing home management. The training will be available on the CMS Quality, Safety & Education Portal.

The training for frontline staff, called “CMS Targeted COVID-19 Training for Frontline Nursing Home Staff” covers five topics separated into five modules. These modules address some of the most common concerns found by surveyors and strike teams, basic infection control and prevention. The modules are focused on the most urgent needs of frontline nursing home staff and they include:

  • 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

The training for management, called “CMS Targeted COVID-19 Training for Nursing Home Management” covers 10 topics separated into 10 modules. These modules are comprehensive, focusing on infection control and cleanliness but also larger institution-wide issues like implementation of telehealth, emergency preparedness, and vaccine delivery. They include:

  • 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

To ensure nursing home staff are aware of the training and availing themselves of it, CMS is directing Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) – CMS’ nationwide quality improvement contractors – to include the training in the action plans that QIOs develop in collaboration with each nursing home they assist. This will help ensure that nursing homes are building the training into their existing quality improvement efforts.

Finally, while the training announced today is comprehensive, CMS and CDC will also have subject matter experts available on bi-weekly webinars from Aug. 27, 2020, through Jan. 7, 2021, from 4–5 p.m. ET, to answer questions. Registration is required for these Question & Answer sessions. Participants can register on the Zoom webinar registration page.

If a nursing home’s staff is unsure which training module best meets their needs, CMS is offering an online self-assessment tool at www.qioprogram.org to help them identify their needs and suggest the appropriate training modules that best reflect those needs. A certificate of completion is offered for each completed training course.

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