About AHRQ's Nursing Home Network
The AHRQ ECHO National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network—a partnership among AHRQ, the University of New Mexico's ECHO Institute and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)—provided free training and mentorship to nursing homes across the country to increase the implementation of evidence-based infection prevention and safety practices to protect residents and staff. Download the Fact Sheet: AHRQ's Role in Nursing Home COVID-19 Response (PDF, 535 KB).
In early Fall 2020, nearly one-quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States were nursing home residents and staff. Advanced age, underlying frailty, and communal living conditions make nursing home residents especially vulnerable, and their reliance on nursing home staff members put these essential workers at high risk. Recognizing AHRQ’s leadership in patient safety and infection control, as well as the Agency’s experience helping delivery systems implement evidence into practice, HHS asked AHRQ to provide nursing homes with additional support to address the pandemic.
AHRQ responded by creating the National Nursing Home COVID Action Network under an AHRQ contract worth up to $237 million that was part of the nearly $5 billion Provider Relief Fund authorized in 2020 under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Purpose and Goals of the Network
The Network provided free training and mentorship to U.S. nursing homes to enhance evidence-based safety practices to protect residents and staff.
The goals of the Network were to—
- Prevent SARS-COV-2 from entering nursing homes where it has not been detected.
- Identify residents and staff who have been infected with SARS-COV-2.
- Prevent the spread of SARS-COV-2 between staff, residents, and visitors.
- Provide safe and appropriate care to residents with mild and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19.
- Ensure staff members have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to implement best-practice safety measures to protect residents and themselves.
- Reduce social isolation for residents, families, and staff during these difficult times.
The Network offered nursing homes that are certified to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs the opportunity to participate in a 16-week training and mentorship program that used a standardized curriculum developed by the IHI as a foundation and delivered the program through the Project ECHO model of telementoring.
The AHRQ ECHO National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network reached 9,058 nursing homes in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico with its 16-week program. To allow nursing homes to further implement safety improvements and maintain engagement with peers and mentors, AHRQ created an option for nursing homes to continue participating in training sessions through August 2021. Explore Data and Impact from the National Nursing Home COVID-19 Network to learn more about the training centers and the nursing homes they served.
To ensure nursing home safety and quality improvement resources from the Network are available to all U.S. nursing homes, AHRQ is curating resources from the Network’s 16-week curriculum and developing additional resources. The searchable COVID-19 Resources Catalog for Nursing Homes is continually refined and updated as new resources are developed.