December 15, 2020

230 Indiana nursing homes signed up for support program during COVID-19 pandemic

Nursing home COVID-19 graphic

Indiana was one of first states to offer the resource

More than 230 nursing homes from across Indiana are signed up for a program to assist facilities in dealing with COVID-19 and its challenges. The Indiana Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network (NHCAN) Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) helps nursing homes improve COVID-19 preparedness, safety and infection control.

Indiana was among the first states to launch the program.

COVID-19 is a serious challenge for nursing homes. As of Fall 2020, nearly one-quarter of the known COVID-19 deaths in the United States have been nursing home residents and staff.

The 16-week ECHO program offers weekly calls for nursing home leaders to hear from subject matter experts and to discuss their own experiences with each other.

Each call includes a presentation of COVID-related best practices and guidance, implementation and quality improvement techniques and case-based discussions to identify successes and challenges experienced at the facility-level. Subject matter experts in geriatrics and infection control/infectious disease help lead the calls.

Some of the topics covered in these calls have included:

  • Vaccines: Expected arrival, storage. How to share educational materials with staff, residents and families.
  • Infection control: Use of personal protective equipment (PPE). How to cohort positive and negative COVID-19 residents in a facility.
  • Staffing shortages: Practical tips and short-term solutions.

The goals of the ECHO program are to help nursing homes implement evidence-based best practices to prevent outbreaks, identify any infections early, provide safe and appropriate care for residents with mild cases, ensure staff have the knowledge to implement safety measures to protect residents and themselves and reduce social isolation for residents, families and staff.

Enrollment is open through December 18 with new cohorts established on a rolling basis. Each cohort consists of about 30 facilities. The program began in Indiana on November 10. Other states are now offering it as well.

Indiana University School of Medicine and Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI are leading the effort in Indiana with collaboration from Regenstrief Institute, Parkview Health, University of Indianapolis and University of Southern Indiana. The ECHO projected is funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Two of the cohorts created in November are based at IUPUI in Indianapolis. Two more started in November are hosted by Parkview Health. University of Indianapolis and University of Southern Indiana each lead cohorts launched in December.


About Regenstrief Institute

Founded in 1969 in Indianapolis, the Regenstrief Institute is a local, national and global leader dedicated to a world where better information empowers people to end disease and realize true health. A key research partner to Indiana University, Regenstrief and its research scientists are responsible for a growing number of major healthcare innovations and studies. Examples range from the development of global health information technology standards that enable the use and interoperability of electronic health records to improving patient-physician communications, to creating models of care that inform practice and improve the lives of patients around the globe.

Sam Regenstrief, a nationally successful entrepreneur from Connersville, Indiana, founded the institute with the goal of making healthcare more efficient and accessible for everyone. His vision continues to guide the institute’s research mission.

About the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI

Located on Indiana’s premier research and health sciences campus, the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI is committed to advancing the public’s health and well-being through education, innovation and leadership. The Fairbanks School of Public Health is known for its expertise in biostatistics, epidemiology, cancer research, community health, environmental public health, global health, health policy and health services administration and is home to the IUPUI ECHO Center with 10 ECHO programs.

About IU School of Medicine

IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.

About Parkview Health

Parkview Health is a not-for-profit, community-based health system serving a northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio population of more than 895,000. Its mission is to improve health and inspire individuals to take steps to improve their well-being. The Parkview Health system was formed in 1995 and its heritage of care and compassion continues today with nine hospitals and a network of primary care and specialty physicians.

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