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QIOs, Strike Teams in Spotlight for Work with Nursing Homes During COVID-19

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) officials applauded Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) and federal strike teams for providing direct assistance to nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic at the annual CMS Quality Conference on March 2-3. QIOs in particular were called upon to support roughly 8,000 nursing homes across the country in the deployment of infection prevention interventions and to aid in compliance with the agency’s increased reporting requirements. Comagine Health’s improvement advisors worked with nursing homes in our six-state region – Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington – to ensure quality improvement strategies were in place to increase protection, reduce spread, and maintain the mental health of staff and residents. Specifically, the team worked with facilities to:

  • Improve the facilities’ screening processes
  • Provide resources and tools for auditing and compliance checks
  • Introduce creative activities to keep residents active and engaged, such as hallway bingo and other uplifting activities 
  • Increase use of check lists 
  • Train on timely topics like isolation, proper use of PPE and environmental cleaning 
  • Spread infection prevention best practices, such as setting up additional handwashing stations throughout the facility and more directly engaging frontline staff in infection control protocol 
  • Mentor new leadership as they learn to manage the details of their new or expanded roles amid staff turnover
  • Promote communication strategies for informing staff and residents of changes to COVID guidelines

Comagine Health’s improvement advisors found success by remaining respectful of nursing home leadership expertise, knowledge of their facility and familiarity with their residents, and by framing recommendations and resources in a quality improvement lens. If you would like to learn more about Comagine Health’s QIO, please visit the Partnership to Reimagine Health Care.

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