Supporting Minnesota nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic

(April 2021) News from the Center for Aging Science and Care Innovation.

April 7, 2021

In response to the devastating effect of COVID-19 in nursing homes, the National Nursing Home Covid-19 Action Network was launched by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Using a hub and spokes model, referred to as Project ECHO, Extension for Community Outcomes (ECHO) hubs were formed across the United States to provide ongoing support and up-to-date information to nursing home staff related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University of Minnesota formed an ECHO hub and is engaged in weekly virtual sessions with more than 90 nursing homes in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Professor Christine Mueller, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, and Associate Professor Siobhan McMahon, PhD, MPH, APRN, GNP-BC, co-directors of the Center for Aging Science and Care Innovation, are two of the leads for the University’s ECHO hub along with Terry McCarthy, MD, MS, from the medical school, and Rajean Moone, PhD, faculty director for long-term care administration in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies.

The 16-week curriculum was developed through the Nursing Home Covid-19 Action Network, guided by the ECHO Model. The weekly sessions use a teach all-learn all approach where nursing home staff learn not only from the experts but from each other. Topics have included evidence-based strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19, testing, advanced care planning, vaccinations, transferring to and from hospitals, social isolation and staff wellbeing, among other topics. Plans are underway to continue Project ECHO for nursing homes to support ongoing quality improvement.

four circles with letters: A - Amplification - use technology to leverage scarce resources, B - Share Best Practices to reduce disparity, C - Case based learning to master complexity, D - web-based database to monitor outcomes