Monitor daily phone calls and email briefings from your state and local health department. Then, begin your journey at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) webpage. The CDC offers strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in multiple settings. This is your most important source for the latest guidelines, checklists, videos, strategies for responding to supply shortages, and more. The CDC’s live and recorded trainings can be very helpful, as well at their Clinician Outreach and Community Awareness calls. Beware of imitation websites.
If you have not already done so:
Prepare to Care for COVID-19: Get your practice ready has practical tools for clinicians to use to care for patients.
All health facilities should take all steps possible to prepare for COVID-19 as outlined by the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities/steps-to-prepare.html
Conduct a self-assessment of infection control practices using the CDC tool appropriate to your setting. https://www.cdc.gov/hai/prevent/infection-control-assessment-tools.html
Communicate with staff regarding use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This link provides comprehensive information related to PPE and its use for COVID-19. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/index.html
CDC Emergency Operations Center: for emergency or urgent patient care assistance (not intended for us by general public)
HHS offers a resource exchange for healthcare emergency preparedness with sample tools, plans, best practices and more: https://asprtracie.hhs.gov/. Search the Technical Resources available for your topic. Specific tools are also grouped by setting.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides a compendium of resources related to the COVID-19 situation at https://asprtracie.hhs.gov/technical-resources/44/coronaviruses-sars-mers-and-covid-19/27. Resources at this site assist in planning for infection-related emergencies of all types and remind users to also remain current with CDC directives.
Emergency Operations Plans, Tools and Templates https://asprtracie.hhs.gov/technical-resources/84/emncy-operations-plans-emncy-management-program/1#plans-tools-and-templates-eop
Also, go to the Public Health Emergency website of the US Department of Health & Human Services (www.phe.gov). At the very minimum, download and use the COVID-19 Healthcare Planning Checklist. This checklist identifies activities that various healthcare settings may undertake to prepare for, respond to, and be resilient in the face of COVID-19.
Key points for health care organizations have been compiled by The Joint Commission (TJC) and can be accessed at https://www.jointcommission.org/covid-19. This information is pertinent to ALL HEALTHCARE SETTINGS and is open access for all Joint Commission members AND non-members. Read and share as appropriate.
Refer to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration for infection prevention and control references, work environment, and training considerations related to COVID-19 at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/controlprevention.html#health as needed.
All health facilities should take all steps possible to prepare for COVID-19 as outlined by the World Health Organization: Coronavirus Information Page at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
For a fact sheet on the regulatory flexibilities and other actions CMS is taking to help healthcare providers and states respond to and contain COVID-19, please visit:
COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers
Review Disaster Plan/Emergency Management Plan, Infection Prevention and Control Plan, and Crisis Management Plan to ensure all aspects of response are leveraged.
Touch base with community partners. Be certain that call trees and emergency phone lists have current contact phone numbers for staff, physicians, and key stakeholders.
National Council for Behavioral Health https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/covid19/
Provides behavioral health concern management and links to CDC information
Provides resources, including things you can do to support yourself, resources for parents, and responders (including people who have been released from quarantine).
Provides behavioral health resources, service locator related to behavioral health needs related to disasters including helpline:
1-800-662-HELP (4357) SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders
NEW (April 30, 2020): The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued another round of sweeping regulatory waivers and rule changes to deliver expanded care to the nation’s seniors and provide flexibility to the healthcare system as America reopens. These changes include making it easier for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to get tested for COVID-19 and continuing CMS’s efforts to further expand beneficiaries’ access to telehealth services.
CMS, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also issued critical recommendations to state and local governments, as well as nursing homes, to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes. The recommendations build on and strengthen recent guidance from CMS and CDC related to effective implementation of longstanding infection control procedures. Click here to continue reading the press release.
We recommend ALL senior or vulnerable population settings, including assisted living, independent living, group homes, personal care homes and residential living centers follow the Revised Guidance for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus in nursing homes from CMS. This guidance prohibits most visitors and suspends communal dining and/or other communal activities. The CDC recommends all individuals maintain a 6-foot distance from other individuals. In semi-private rooms, we recommend you move all beds and chairs apart to maintain as much distance as possible between roommates.
Additional resources include:
Taking Reasonable Efforts to Prevent COVID-19 From Entering Your Assisted Living Community (as of March 9, 2020)
Includes templates for letters to families, residents and employees and other resources.
General guidelines for high-risk groups
Emergency Operations Plans, Tools and Templates
Refer to HHS Emergency Management and Incident Command System planning resources at
Incident planning and resource guides with self-assessment checklist for infection Control incident
Infection Control Tools to implement standard and transmission-based infections for health care settings.
Infection Preventionist Job Description Template
California Hospital Seasonal Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Checklist (updated 2/2020; includes COVID-19 resources and links)
Interim Healthcare Coalition Checklist for Pandemic Planning National Healthcare Preparedness Programs (NHPP). Fall 2013. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
Pandemic Influenza Plan
More than 140 nursing homes have reported coronavirus cases.
The virus is spreading, and it appears some of the cause of the spread in nursing homes is related to staff who travel between facilities. Consider staff and consultants who travel between facilities: Therapists, X-Ray Technicians, Delivery personnel (yes even mail delivery), clergy, and consultants. Also, many facilities have staff work at more than one facility on any given day. While tracking the reason for the spread of the Coronavirus is on everyone’s mind, Dallas, Texas has taken new stringent steps to curb the risk of personnel sharing facilities:
Dallas is expected to issue more regulations on March 30th after four nursing homes, and the State School in Denton all recorded positive cases of the Coronavirus.
Being active “ahead of the game,” consider implementing the Dallas interventions and a few other restrictions such as:
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