SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, poses a high risk for senior housing communities and the people who live and work there. The COVID-19 response has largely focused on nursing homes, leaving independent living communities serving older adults in the United States with fragmented guidance on how to respond to COVID-19 challenges. This course provides comprehensive instruction and resources for property owners and managers, senior housing staff, service coordinators and providers, community housing leaders, and other senior housing stakeholders to build upon their emergency preparedness and response strategies related to COVID-19. The course lectures, interviews, and assignments are largely geared toward federally-subsidized, multifamily senior housing providers, but the material is relevant for all senior housing providers.
Learners will hear from experts about best practices to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks and promote well-being. Topics discussed include unique challenges for senior housing communities, development of emergency preparedness plans, outbreak prevention, and coronavirus-adapted housing operations. The course also covers strategies for communicating with stakeholders, promoting pandemic-safe behavior on site, 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 and Senior Housing Challenges
This module provides a foundational understanding of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), challenges specific to Senior Housing communities, and how to structure your pandemic emergency preparedness response strategies.
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, mask usage, cleaning and disinfection, staffing considerations, and communication strategies for different stakeholders.
Senior Housing Operations
This module covers how senior housing operations are impacted by the pandemic and suggests adaptations to occupancy procedures, community access, and behavior management to lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission on site.
Promoting Mental Health and Well-being
This module discusses reasons for increased stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation among staff and residents during this time 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.
Juliana Bilowich, Alice Bonner, Molly Nace and Morgan Katz
I took this course purely out of interest, as supplement to the course by the same creators on assisted living facilities. Senior housing communities are particularly foreign entities to me, as they do not exist in my country. Nevertheless, this course gave an excellent overview to this system, how it is affected by COVID-19, and the best practices through which it can respond to the challenges brought about by the pandemic. I highly recommend this course to all involved personnel in maintaining senior housing communities as well as their residents.