COVID-19 Resources for Aging Care
Every leader of a continuing care, skilled nursing, or home care organization seeks to minimize risk and protect the safety of seniors and staff every day and especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtually any community or facility benefits from expert tools and resources to help in assessing and mitigating risk.
ECRI has broad expertise to support resident safety and risk management goals. Our expert research and advice address a wide range of risk factors—including the emergency preparedness, disaster planning, and resident safety guidance and tools that we are offering below for free public access. Additional comprehensive content is available on our membership websites. Please contact us to learn more.
Statement of alignment
ECRI and LeadingAge PA are collaborating to help protect Pennsylvania’s older adults by providing COVID-19 pandemic safety, risk, and quality expertise and resources for care givers. ECRI’s Director of Aging Services, Victor Lane Rose, said, “The missions of both ECRI and LeadingAge PA share an important and ultimate purpose during the pandemic and beyond – to reduce harm to our state’s older adults and the workforces caring for them, everywhere the opportunity presents itself.” In that spirit, Mr. Rose and Adam Marles, President and CEO of LeadingAge PA, are fully committed to the organizations working together to reduce risk, improve quality, and increase safety for Pennsylvania’s aging services providers across all care settings.
This new collaboration is just one of the many ways that ECRI is working with like-minded organizations to protect Pennsylvania’s older adults, including ECRI’s COVID-19 Resource Center and partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration Emergency Temporary Standards: OSHA published a COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS) on June 21, 2021, applicable to all settings where any employee provides healthcare services or healthcare support services.
- Ask ECRI:Contact Tracing for COVID-19: Guidance on the process and responsibilities associated with COVID-19 contact tracing, including the three primary responsibilities: calculation of isolation periods with instructions for isolation, calculation of quarantine periods with instructions for quarantining, and check-ins with “cases” and “contacts.”
- Environmental Service Policy Considerations to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Long-Term Care: This document can be used to develop an environmental service (EVS) policy to help contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus and prevent the spread of COVID-19 disease—a disease that has the potential to pose a significant public health threat to the residents and staff of a long-term care facility.
- COVID-19 Release and Liability Waivers: Real Risk Mitigation or a False Sense of Security?: Given the high number of risks associated with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, service providers are using COVID-19-related liability waivers and attestation statements, asking an individual to attest to the fact that they are not experiencing COVID-19-like signs or symptoms and have not recently tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) before the provider renders services to the individual.
- Conducting Contact Tracing and Cohorting for COVID-19 in Aging Services: This document can be used to develop a COVID-19 contact tracing strategy to help contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 disease in long-term care.
- Aging Services Personal Protective Equipment Guidelines in the COVID-19 Pandemic: This document can be used to develop a comprehensive personal protective equipment (PPE) program to help contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 disease. This guidance will discuss PPE requirements in long-term care utilizing a red/yellow/green zone cohorting strategy based on infection exposure risks.
- Should Aging Services Facilities Rely on COVID-19 Antibody Tests: ECRI provides guidance on the use of rapid antibody testing for residents at aging services organizations to determine whether an individual has been infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
- Strategies for Conducting SARS-CoV-2 Testing Based on Cohorting for Infectious Outbreak: This document can be used to help develop a comprehensive virus testing program and guide the processes needed for testing for the COVID-19 illness in long-term care utilizing a red/yellow/green zone cohorting strategy based on infection exposure risks.
- Aging Services Visitation Guidelines in the COVID-19 Pandemic: The decision to allow general visitation is highly dependent on many factors, including local and state government mandates, active COVID-19 cases and trends in the local area, and available personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing supplies.
- Position Statement | COVID-19 Aging Services Recovery Plans for Transitioning to Normalized Operations: Practical guidance on the wide range of factors to consider before making the critical decision to relax enhanced infection and outbreak response control measures.
- Ask ECRI | Return-to-Work Considerations for COVID-19-Positive Employees: ECRI provides recommendations on allowing staff who have recovered from COVID-19 to return to work, and what safeguards should be put in place following the return to work or for staff who have tested positive but are asymptomatic.
- Webinar Recording | When Words and Actions Matter Most: Responding to Harm in Senior Living In the Context of COVID-19: View the recording of our May 5, 2020 webinar with RLDatix that focused on caring for the caregiver in senior living settings.
- Webinar Recording | COVID-19: The Mental Health Effects in Aging Care: Leadership from ECRI and LeadingAge PA discuss how to prevent the harmful side-effects such as depression which can result from prolonged isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- COVID-19 Lab Webcast | Safe Respirator Usage When Supplies Are Short: This recording of our March 25, 2020, live-streamed lab tour, features recommendations from ECRI experts on how to use N95 respirators safely when normal procedures are challenging due to shortages.
- Clinical Evidence Assessment | Infrared Temperature Screening to Identify Potentially Infected Staff or Visitors Presenting to Healthcare Facilities during Infectious Disease Outbreaks: ECRI’s evidence review indicates Infrared Temperature screening is ineffective for detecting infected persons. Using this approach to reduce infection risk from visitors and staff could provide a false sense of safety.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Influenza Free Online Training & Resources: Free training courses and resources for healthcare professionals and individuals from Relias on pandemic preparation, infection prevention, hand hygiene, and PPE. Courses in English and Spanish.
- Hand Hygiene: This guidance article provides action recommendations that long-term care facilities should take to ensure appropriate hand hygiene compliance by workers and staff.
- Hand Hygiene Training Program: An effective hand hygiene training program requires initial planning and assessment of the facility’s current hand hygiene culture. This training program provides tips on steps to take during the planning process.
- Reporting Guidelines | CMS Alert: Guidance available on recently established federal requirements for nursing homes to give notifications about communicable diseases like COVID-19 to the CDC and families. For more recommendations on managing incident response, see ECRI’s Incident Identification and Notifications in Aging Services White Paper.
- COVID-19 FAQs | Your Questions Answered: Get answers to your frequently asked questions for COVID-19 relating to clinical, infection prevention, patient safety, and supply chain concerns.
- ECRI Position Statement Temperature Screening to Prevent COVID-19 Transmission: Creating False Security: ECRI advises what we now know about SARS CoV 2 indicates temperature screening and questionnaires are a very problematic theory about how to reduce transmission.
CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule resources
- White Paper | Emergency Preparedness and Response in Aging Services: Free resource for healthcare professionals on responding to epidemics, pandemics, and outbreaks in aging care facilities. There are no small decisions in response to pandemics and outbreaks; gaps in response and performance can lead to a series of cascading adverse situations and harm to persons served and care providers.
- Emergency Preparedness: Planning and Mitigation: Executive brief and action recommendations about emergency operations committees and the planning and mitigation elements of a comprehensive emergency operations plan.
- Emergency Preparedness: Response & Recovery: Executive brief and action recommendations to help facilities plan and prepare in advance, to mitigate, respond to, and recover from natural and human-made emergencies and disasters.
Policies and procedures
- White Paper | Incident Identification and Notifications in Aging Services: Practical guidance on the correct action steps to take after an incident occurs, such as a resident presenting with coronavirus-like symptoms.
- CDC Checklist | Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Preparedness Checklist for Nursing Homes and other Long-Term Care Settings: Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities can take steps to assess and improve their preparedness for responding to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- Overview of Infection Prevention and Control: The estimated number of infections occurring in U.S. nursing homes annually ranges from 1.4 to 5.2 infections per 1,000 resident-days, or 765,000 to 2.8 million infections overall. This guidance article reviews the basic epidemiology of infections; laws, regulations, standards, and guidelines; and essential elements of an infection control program.
- Resident and Family Newsletter Template: Long-term care facilities can keep residents and their family members informed with updated information on COVID19.
- Resident And Family Outbreak Notification Letter: A template for care-critical notification regarding important outbreak notifications.
- Media Relations: This article provides a risk-management-based approach to media relations in order to improve resident satisfaction, avoid liability, and avoid reputational harm.
- Professional Organizations Release Updated Guidelines in Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak in Washington State: A news update on the U.S. organizational response to the COVID-19 outbreak that originated in a nursing home in Washington.
- CDC | Long-Term Care (LTC) Respiratory Surveillance Line List: A template for data collection and active monitoring of both residents and staff during a suspected respiratory illness cluster or outbreak at a nursing home or other LTC facility.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Public Health Emergency | COVID-19 Healthcare Planning Checklist: This checklist is adapted from a variety of HHS Pandemic Influenza Pandemic Planning resources. It identifies specific activities your jurisdiction can do now to prepare for, respond to, and be resilient in the face of COVID-19.
- Centers for Disease Control | Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives Poster: Printable posters that can be used to help raise awareness about handwashing in highly visible public areas, such as schools, workplaces, and restrooms. They are designed for all audiences, and some are available in multiple sizes and languages.
* All material in this COVID-19 Resource Center, https://www.ecri.org/coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak-preparedness-center/, is protected by copyright, and all rights are reserved under international and Pan-American copyright conventions. However, in light of current circumstances, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ECRI will permit the ECRI content accessible from this COVID-19 Resource Center to be reproduced and shared, in whole or in part, for non-commercial purposes only. If you desire to reproduce or share content from third-party sources cited within this Center, you must first seek approval from that third-party source.