SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, poses a high risk for assisted living communities due to residents’ age, health status, and communal living environment. The COVID-19 response has largely focused on nursing homes, leaving assisted living communities in the United States with fragmented guidance on how to respond to COVID-19 challenges. This course provides comprehensive instruction and resources for administrators and direct-care staff of assisted living communities.
Learners will hear from experts about best practices to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks and promote well-being. Topics discussed include development of emergency preparedness plans, infection and outbreak prevention, staffing considerations, testing, and contact tracing. The course also covers strategies for communicating with stakeholders, promoting resident and staff well-being, and leveraging health departments and other agency resources, including a collection of resources for COVID-19 vaccination guidance. Learners are encouraged to concurrently develop and enhance their own community’s policies, procedures, and practices.
This course was developed in partnership with the Baltimore City Health Department.
COVID-19 Background & Assisted Living Special Risk
This module provides a foundational understanding of Coronavirus-19 disease (COVID-19), why Assisted Living communities are at high risk of infection, and how to structure your emergency preparedness plan for the pandemic.
This module covers several infection prevention topics to help you develop and implement practices to reduce COVID-19 transmission. First, it distinguishes how policies, procedures and practices each play a role in preventing and responding to COVID-19. Then it describes factors that contribute to COVID-19 outbreaks and how to prevent them, the proper use of PPE, cleaning and disinfection, staffing considerations, and communication strategies for different stakeholders.
Testing, Contact Tracing, and Cohorting
This module addresses the fundamentals on how to create and implement testing policies in your community. It explains the various types of tests available, including the pros and cons of each, and how this may impact practices and outcomes in your community. It also provides a background on how to contact trace in Assisted Living Communities and cohort infected or exposed residents and staff accordingly.
Promoting Mental Health and Well-being
This module discusses reasons for increased stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation among staff and residents and what types of programs and policies can be implemented to promote well-being.
Health Department Partnerships & Vaccination Guidance
This module discusses how to create partnerships with local and state health agencies to support your community’s response to COVID-19. It also provides resources about the COVID-19 vaccinations, distribution, and messaging.
The Final Assessment asks about changes you've made to your community's emergency response strategies while taking this course. Prior to starting the Quiz, read the Overarching Resources section and revisit any uncompleted assignments or items that may have required follow up with others in your community.
Robin Jump, Morgan Katz, Alice Bonner, Juliana Bilowich and Molly Nace
I took this course only out of personal interest rather than of necessity, as I am not involved in an assisted living community. Nevertheless, there are numerous takeaways from this course that can be easily generalized or applied to non-assisted living community settings. I am quite sure that people working in assisted living communities will find this course timely and high-yield, and people will be informed of the state-of-the-art recommendations for the care of their loved ones in such facilities.