/Nursing homes aren’t taking free COVID-19 training

Nursing homes aren’t taking free COVID-19 training

According to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), 29 of Mississippi’s 211 nursing home have taken advantage the free training — training at least half of their staff in COVID-19 and vaccine distribution. The training is completed by about the same percentage of all nursing homes nationally. Mississippi is not the only state that has not made sure all facilities have taken the training. Seema Verma, CMS Administrator, stated that the federal government has provided $20 billion to nursing homes, as well as millions of pieces PPE, supplies and testing equipment, technical assistance, and on-the ground support. “Ultimately, every nursing home must ensure that their staff are fully trained to protect residents. We encourage all nursing homes to use this free training opportunity. With the number of coronavirus infections increasing in the United States, it is important that staff and residents are aware of the potential benefits of the training. Mississippi facilities who complete the infection control course for free have an average of more than 10% fewer resident cases than those that have not. Mississippi nursing homes are benefiting from the training, as half of their residents have already contracted the virus. Mississippi’s State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs believes that better infection control can help stem the spread of the virus in Mississippi nursing homes. “In places that have really good infection control practices a lot of the time we’ll discover zero cases,” he stated in May when the state began universal testing for all residents and staff of nursing homes. This is something each facility can do, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends such testing. Just 40% of respondents reported conducting surveillance tests on symptomatic residents in order to determine exposure. The state currently has the highest COVID-19 infection per capita among nursing homes, and nearly half of those who get it die. Mississippi’s facilities that have completed the training experience an average of 350 COVID-19 infections per 1,000 residents. This compares to the overall state which has about 400 cases per capita. Five of the 29 facilities that took it have not reported any cases — 23 facilities in total have never had one. Seven other facilities have seen between one to five cases. The training was completed by 40% of the facilities. They have had five to six cases on average. The average number of staff who have completed safety training has been lower than 21 statewide. The death rate for residents who contract the virus infected with the virus is lower in facilities that have completed the training, which averages 14% at the completion of the course and 20% throughout the state. Only two of the 12 state facilities with an infection rate greater than 100% have completed the training. This means that more residents have been infected than there are residents. Medicare and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention teamed up to address common concerns during inspections of facilities in the U.S. that have a high COVID-19 infection rate. These included hand hygiene and proper use of PPE, resident surveillance and isolation strategies as well as cleaning and special care for people with dementia. These are the Medicare safety training participants as of Nov. 3. Nursing homes can learn more about the training by clicking here.