Taking action to help nursing home staff fighting COVID-19

Last Modified: 12/11/2020

Nursing HOme

According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Indiana nursing homes were amongst the top five states for confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases among residents during the first week of November. Supplies are critically low, recommended guidelines and protocols are almost constantly changing, and COVID-19 cases are rising amongst residents and staff in long-term care (LTC) facilities. Parkview, in partnership with Indiana University and the University of New Mexico ECHO Institute, is taking a stand with their fellow healthcare providers and assisting LTC facilities in Indiana. The group is providing tele-education sessions to participating LTC facilities to help prevent and stop the spread of Covid-19.

Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) has been tele-educating healthcare workers all over the world for the past 17 years, by moving knowledge, not people, and by sharing information of best practices to underserved communities. The ECHO model uses video technology to connect with people locally, nationally and globally, on urgent topics and specialty diseases and conditions. In 2020, Parkview Hospital joined over 250 other organizations and became an ECHO Hub. ECHO Hubs consist of experts and specialists which then train and share knowledge with the participating organizations (referred to as spokes). Parkview, along with the ECHO Institute and all its members have the goal of touching over one billion lives by 2025.   

Parkview is doing their part in spreading knowledge by hosting 16 weekly 90-minute ECHO sessions that are interactive, adaptable and provide in-time support for nursing homes to ask questions directly to subject matter experts, provide feedback and lessons learned with their community, and to help bring to light their greatest struggles (and accomplishments) to influence change. The national ECHO Institute has provided a robust curriculum, which has been modified to fit our participant’s day-to-day needs. The participants are encouraged to share what keeps them up at night and what is their biggest struggle, and then we approach the problem and as a team, we work on a solution. ECHO sessions are focused on an all-teach, all-learn model and thrive on group participation and learning. The Parkview cohorts are led by subject matter experts, Jeffrey Boord, MD, chief quality and safety officer, Parkview Health, and Scott Stienecker, MD, PPG – Infectious Diseases, along with members of the Infection Prevention team and nurse educators.

Each ECHO session also has an assigned Quality Improvement Specialist present (provided from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement) and a facilitator with vast knowledge of long-term care. In these sessions, we have facility leaders who have been in the trenches of this pandemic for the past nine months. The sessions are used to directly share creative ideas, best practices and lessons learned.

To date, over 200 LTC facilities have registered to participate in these ECHO sessions, referred to as National Nursing Home COVID Action Network (NNHCAN) ECHO series hosted by Parkview Hospital and IU (Indianapolis), with Parkview hosting 65 facilities. Additional cohorts have also been added through the University of Indianapolis and the University of Southern Indiana to build capacity and meet the demand of participating LTC facilities in Indiana. It should also be noted that participating LTC facilities receive a $6,000 stipend for meeting attendance requirements.  

If you would like more information about Parkview’s efforts in assisting long term care facilities with the pandemic, please email Lauren.Reining@parkview.com for more information.


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